Death chants and racism mar Sunderland-Newcastle draw
Martin O'Neill slams his own fans for targeting Steven Taylor as police probe alleged racist chants
Sunderland 1 Newcastle 1. Football's image took another battering after the Tyne and Wear derby between Newcastle and Sunderland ended all-square. Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill tore into his own fans after the match at the Stadium of Light after he was informed they had been chanting, "Steven Taylor, we wish you were dead."
Taylor, who appeared for Newcastle as a second-half substitute, was a target for Sunderland fans after joking before the match that he'd rather collect stamps than play for the Black Cats. "If that is what they were singing then it would be in very poor taste," said O'Neill. "If I had heard that I would have been disappointed with that."
Meanwhile the Daily Mail claims that Northumbria Police are investigating allegations of racist chanting during the game. Although the 50,000 crowd was on the whole well-behaved, there were 15 arrests and the Mail quotes a police spokesman saying: "There was one report of racist language having been used by a supporter in one area of the stadium - enquiries into this report are ongoing."
As for the game itself, a share of the points was the right result after a match that failed to live up to the hype. Yohan Cabaye (above right) gave the visitors the lead after just three minutes but Newcastle were reduced to 10 men midway through the first half when Cheick Tiote was dismissed for a high tackle on Steven Fletcher.
Sunderland struggled to exploit their advantage as the game wore on and Newcastle looked to be heading for a valuable away win. But with four minutes left on the clock the home side levelled when Demba Ba deflected the ball into his own net from a Seb Larsson free-kick.
"It would have been one of the greatest ever victories here if we had held on but, just towards the end of the game, we tired and couldn't keep the ball as we liked," said Newcastle manager Alan Pardew.
The result leaves both clubs in the wrong half of the table with Newcastle in eleventh spot and Sunderland fourteenth.
And one-all was how it finished in the day's other game in the Premier League between QPR and Everton. In a match that mirrored much of what went on at Sunderland, Rangers took an early lead after Junior Hoilett had run half the length of the Loftus Road pitch to fire past Tim Howard. The Toffees equalised on 33 minutes when Julio Cesar scored an own goal but the visitors were forced to play the last half hour with ten men after the dismissal of Steven Pienaar.
The South African midfielder was shown a second yellow for a challenge on Jose Bosingwa, a tackle that looked innocuous to everyone but referee Jon Moss.
Despite losing Pienaar, Everton clung on for a point that leaves them in fourth spot, three points behind Manchester City. The result leaves Rangers stranded at the bottom of the table and still searching for their first league win of the season. "We are getting better and I think everyone can see that," said QPR manager Mark Hughes. "The frustration I think is that we haven't got the points to back up the performances."