Ryan Donaldson was the hero as Newcastle snatched a late equaliser against Sunderland for the second time in five days.
It was an epic clash between the Tyne-Wear reserve sides, full of controversy and incident. Sunderland twice lead but failed to see out the game despite Dan Gosling’s late dismissal.
United dominated the early exchanges and Gabriel Obertan made the breakthrough on 23 minutes. The pacey Frenchman latched onto a ball from Donaldson and drilled the ball past Ben Wilson in the Sunderland goal.
Capatin James Perch nearly extended Newcastle’s lead minutes later but his header crashed off the bar and away to safety.
The visitors levelled on the half hour after a comical mix up between Reme Streete and goalkeeper Alex Baird allowed Oumare Tounkara to tap into an empty net.
The Magpie’s half only got worse when Streete, who won the prestigious Wor Jackie award earlier this week, was stretched off. The Toon defender landed awkwardly after a challenge with Tounkara.
The Black Cats then took the lead on the brink of half time through Ryan Noble. The forward had already netted a hat-trick in this fixture earlier in the season and was back to haunt Newcastle again. Baird had saved Noble’s original effort but the 20-year-old made no mistake with the rebound.
Into the second period and United again started the half strongly. Perch was again denied from close range, this time by a fine reflex save from Wilson.
The Magpies did level on the hour after Gosling headed home from Phil Airey’s cross as the game started to sizzle.
Noble then nearly restored Sunderland’s advantage, using his lightening pace to get ahead of substitute Louis Storey but he dragged his wide.
The visitors did edge back in front when Tounkara headed his second of the game on 67 minutes in what was becoming a memorable match.
Goalscorer Gosling was then dismissed for a deliberate handball with just 10 minutes remaining in the game, leaving Newcastle’s chances in the balance. The former Everton midfielder was previously been sent off for the first team this season at Norwich.
Despite being a man light the Magpies grabbed a dramatic equaliser as Donaldson’s stooping header beat Wilson with just five minutes left on the clock.
The game was then delayed after Newcastle fans threw a Sports Direct hoarding onto the field of play but it was the last incident of note on another breathless derby day at St James’ Park.
Attendance - 2,995
NUFCfans Man of the Match - Gabriel Obertan