Our next fixture sees us making the short journey over to the modern, progressive cultural
hub known as Sunderland. Our first ever trip to Roker Park was in 1898 when 25,000 people witnessed United come out on top in a 3-2 win, our most recent fixture at their home since 1997, Stadium of ‘Light’ resulted in a 1-1 draw with Yohan Cabaye scoring the opener and Newcastle having to play with 10 men from around the 20 minute mark after Cheick Tiote was controversially sent off.
Our last victory on Wearside came in August 2011 when Ryan Taylor sent a free kick over the Sunderland wall and into the top corner, in a game when a blatant act of Mackem cheating was ignored by Howard Webb and his assistants when Seb Larsson handballed on the line to prevent a Newcastle goal. Our last defeat and indeed our only defeat at Sunderland in over 30 years came in our relegation season when Djibril Cisse and Kieron Richardson sparked the usual mini pitch invasion at the SOS.
Memorable games in the Premier League era include the 4-1 second half massacre against the Sunderland side which were relegated with the record of having had the lowest points return in a season, breaking the record previously held by…Sunderland. The day was probably best remembered for Alan Shearer erasing memories of the penalty miss back in 2000 by smashing one in front of the away fans on what turned out to be his final appearance for the club. The other goals coming from Michael Chopra, Charles N’Zogbia and Albert Luque at which point all the Mackems ***** off home. A few years previous to that we won a hard fought 1-0 with Nikos Dabizas scoring from a set piece and Shay Given pulling off arguably the best save a Newcastle goalkeeper has made in living memory to deny Kevin Phillips, a win which was significant due to the rather embarrassing defeats we’d suffered at the hands of Sunderland at SJP.
1996 saw the last Tyne-Wear derby played at Roker Park, despite Newcastle not given a ticket allocation they came out on top in a 2-1 win, with both goals coming from corners and headed in by Peter Beardsley and then Les Ferdinand, cancelling out Martin Scott’s early penalty. That particular match was the first encounter at Roker since a second tier game in 1992, when Liam O’Brien scored a stunning free kick to send the Toon Army behind the goal into raptures in a game which finished 2-1 to the Magpies. The late 80’s/early 90’s saw a succession of fairly drab stalemates most memorable of which was the play-off semi –final first leg when John Burridge saved a penalty. Older supporters may be able to job their memories way back to 1967 to recall a 3-3 draw at Roker Park in which Newcastle defender John McNamee swung from the crossbar after scoring a late equaliser.