THERE was joy and despair in equal measure yesterday as the North-East's big two enjoyed contrasting fortunes against the two Manchester clubs.

Sunderland were celebrating their greatest success of the season as Adam Johnson's second-half winner secured a 1-0 win over reigning champions Manchester City at the Stadium of Light.

But there was agony for Newcastle United as Javier Hernandez's 90th-minute strike condemned them to a 4-3 defeat at Manchester United in a game that saw them claim the lead three times.

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Sunderland's success was a repeat of their New Year's Day victory over City and means Martin O'Neill's side have now won three of their last four matches.

“Considering the opposition, that was our best performance,” said O'Neill. “We got confidence from beating Southampton (last weekend).

“We knew we would have to defend strongly and do well without the ball, but we also carved out chances. We played really well, not just defensively, we moved the ball well and caused them problems.”

Newcastle also caused Manchester United problems, but despite scoring through James Perch, Papiss Cisse and an own goal from Jonny Evans, Alan Pardew's side were forced to head back across the Pennines empty handed.

They have now lost seven of their last nine league games and find themselves two places and two points below Sunderland in the league table.

“We've hit the post at 3-3 and hit the bar as well, but we've come away with nothing,” said Pardew. “My frustration is with my team because defensively we should have done a lot better.

“Regardless of it being Man United and the history and tradition of the place, and their late finishes, we should have got something from the match, 100 per cent.”

In the Championship, Lukas Jutkiewicz's second-half strike secured Middlesbrough a hard-fought 1-0 win over Blackburn Rovers.