Belfast Telegraph

Taylor rues another derby defeat

Devastated defender Steven Taylor has admitted Newcastle had only themselves to blame for an unprecedented fourth successive derby defeat by Sunderland.

Sunday's high-octane clash at St James' Park looked to be heading for a first goalless draw since May 1990 when Adam Johnson settled it with a 90th-minute winner, his third goal in as many visits to Tyneside.

Victory was little more than the Black Cats deserved after creating the better chances throughout the game, but it arrived with the Magpies on top and pushing for a winner of their own.

Taylor said: "We can't believe it. We were looking at the clock and thinking it would be a draw.

"We were just looking to see the game out.

"Maybe we got a bit carried away. Sometimes you have to shut the back door. It came from our own set-piece so we only have ourselves to blame.

"I just can't believe it's another season that we have been beaten."

Newcastle went into the game desperate not to set a new record for consecutive Tyne-Wear derby defeats and knowing they had a debt to repay to their fans after losing to last two editions on their own pitch 3-0.

On a day when both sets of fans put aside their fierce rivalry momentarily - the travelling supporters joined in the 17th-minute applause for John Alder and Liam Sweeney, who died in the MH17 Malaysia Airlines disaster, and their Newcastle counterparts acknowledged their efforts in raising more than £33,000 for a memorial 16 minutes later - the home side started as if they meant business.

However, the initial flurry, during which a Black Cats defence shorn of the services of specialist full-back Anthony Reveillere - he had damaged a calf muscle during the warm-up - was at sixes and sevens, failed to produce tangible reward and Gus Poyet's men responded in concerted fashion.

As Sebastian Larsson and Jordi Gomez started to gain the upper hand in the middle of the field, Steven Fletcher clipped the crossbar with a side-footed effort and Connor Wickham forced a good save from rookie keeper Jak Alnwick, who did not wilt in the heat of the derby atmosphere.

Gomez and Johnson both passed up glorious opportunities to give the visitors the lead, but in the meantime, Sunderland keeper Costel Pantilimon needed every bit of his 6ft 8in frame to get to Ayoze Perez's 63rd-minute shot as it curled towards the top corner.

But with the clock running down, Johnson held off Moussa Sissoko inside his own half and then set off towards the Gallowgate End goal, finding Fletcher before making his way into the box to dispatch substitute Will Buckley's lay-off from the Scotland international's pass.

Taylor, who had two stitches put into a head wound after a nasty collision with the post as he denied Fletcher a certain goal, was left to rue a lack of cutting edge at the other end of the pitch.

He said: "We had the chances. Everything was at the keeper - straight at him. Two or three yards either side of him is a different ball game.

"We are gutted with that, but Adam Johnson is a top-class player and he proved that today."

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