Red card aids Sunderland

Sunderland's Steven Fletcher (right) being blocked in the penalty box by Fabricio Coloccini - resulting in a penalty and the Newcastle defender being sent off. The referee's decision appeared rather harsh.
Sunderland's Steven Fletcher (right) being blocked in the penalty box by Fabricio Coloccini - resulting in a penalty and the Newcastle defender being sent off. The referee's decision appeared rather harsh.PHOTO: ACTION IMAGES

LONDON • Sunderland swept to a record sixth successive Premier League triumph over bitter rivals Newcastle as Fabricio Coloccini's controversial dismissal sparked the hosts' 3-0 win at the Stadium of Light yesterday.

Even Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce felt that it was harsh on Newcastle to go a man down and concede a penalty after Coloccini blocked Steven Fletcher as the Sunderland striker tried to reach a through ball.

"It's the rules sadly. I think a penalty is enough," he told BBC Sport.

Whether referee Robert Madley was right to award the spot kick converted by Adam Johnson was highly debatable. But the red card shown to the centre-back was certainly harsh since goalkeeper Rob Elliot looked certain to reach the ball ahead of Fletcher.

Coloccini's anger over the red card was only matched by Newcastle's fury at Madley's failure to spot Lee Cattermole's reckless challenge on Aleksandar Mitrovic seconds earlier in the other penalty area.

Billy Jones and Fletcher added further goals for Sunderland in the second half to ensure that Allardyce would be their fourth successive manager to win this derby in his second match in charge.

And to make the derby success even sweeter for Sunderland's players and fans, their first league win of the season lifted them above Newcastle on goal difference, although both remain in the relegation zone.

"Everyone's done a job - players on the pitch and me tactically setting them out," Allardyce told BT Sport. "Hopefully this is the start of us getting out of trouble."

It was a painful afternoon for Newcastle, who could not score from any of their eight shots on target, but saw Sunderland net from all three of theirs.

"We were the better side by a distance," said Newcastle manager Steve McClaren. "Even with 10 men in the second half we still controlled it.

"Referee decisions are out of your control. The defining moments were two decisions he got wrong. Gini Wijnaldum's ball was handballed by Lee Cattermole and the penalty for them was never a penalty. The penalty and red card was a double whammy."

Over at the Vitality Stadium, Tottenham routed Bournemouth 5-1, with Spurs striker Harry Kane scoring a hat-trick.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 26, 2015, with the headline 'Red card aids Sunderland'. Print Edition | Subscribe