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Borini's winner settles dramatic North-East derby
FABIO BORINI'S dramatic late strike ensured Sunderland claimed the Wear-Tyne derby spoils courtesy of a thrilling 2-1 win over Newcastle.
Borini, a second-half substitute, struck with five minutes left to settle a typically hard-fought encounter and secure Gustavo Poyet's side first victory of the season.
The win lifts Sunderland off the foot of the Premier League and provides a platform from which they can build in the remainder of the season.
Having claimed a fifth-minute lead through Steven Fletcher's header, the Wearsiders were pegged back when Mathieu Debuchy scored from close range shortly before the hour mark.
Newcastle spent the next half-hour pushing for a winner, but it was Borini's searing strike that settled things, with the result sure to pile pressure on Magpies boss Alan Pardew, who has now won just one of his six derby encounters with Sunderland.
Given their perilous position at the foot of the table, the Wearsiders desperately needed a positive start to engender some optimism.
Committed and energetic from the off as they harried their opponents whenever they were in possession, the hosts could not have wished for a better opening as they broke the deadlock in the fifth minute.
Adam Johnson played a neat short corner routine with Seb Larsson, and after the England international stood up a cross to the back post, Fletcher out-jumped Paul Dummett to head home from close range.
Sunderland's attackers had clearly been instructed to target Dummett from the off, and the youngster, who has spent most of his academy days as a full-back, appeared shell-shocked in the early stages.
He was caught dawdling again in the 17th minute after Tim Krul had parried Fletcher's 20-yard shot, and Jozy Altidore almost nipped ahead of him to convert the rebound.
With Fletcher also heading wide from an Andrea Dossena cross, Sunderland were rampant in the opening 20 minutes.
Newcastle's only opportunity in that period came to nothing when Yohan Cabaye shot over the crossbar from distance, but the visitors gradually found their rhythm as the first half wore on.
Cabaye was their key performer, pulling the strings at the heart of midfield, and Keiren Westwood did well to reach the Frenchman's dangerous cross ahead of the onrushing Moussa Sissoko.
Alan Pardew changed formations shortly before the hour mark, pushing Loic Remy into the centre-forward role and enabling Hatem Ben Arfa to play in the hole behind his fellow Frenchman, but half-time arrived without Westwood having been stretched.
There was another Newcastle change at the interval, with Papiss Cisse coming off the bench to replace Sissoko, and having begun to dominate possession before the break, the visitors retained the upper hand in the early stages of the second half.
They initially struggled to convert their possession into goalscoring opportunities, but when they finally fashioned an opportunity in the 58th minute, it was converted by Debuchy.
Ben Arfa dragged his shot across the face of goal from the left-hand corner of the area, and with Johnson having switched off instead of tracking back, Debuchy was able to ghost in unmarked at the far post to turn the ball home.
It was the French full-back's first goal for Newcastle, and he could hardly have chosen a more important time at which to score it.
Buoyed by their equaliser, the Magpies immediately began pushing for their second goal, and after a slick passing move involving Davide Santon and Ben Arfa, Cabaye whistled a dangerous 22-yard strike narrowly past the upright.
Borini came off the bench for Sunderland in the 69th minute, and the Italian almost scored with his first touch, a fierce low drive that briefly looked like it had squeezed through Krul's legs.
Cabaye fired a long-range strike straight at Westwood, and with Newcastle continuing to look the likelier scorers, Santon dragged a shot narrowly wide of the post after turning inside Larsson.
Shola Ameobi, so often the scourge of Sunderland in the past, also dragged a shot wide, but having been on the back foot for the majority of the second period, Sunderland scored their winner with five minutes left.
It was a sensational strike, with Borini drilling the ball into the top right-hand corner from 22 yards out after Altidore laid Jack Colback's through ball into his path.
Sunderland (4-4-2): Westwood; Bardsley (Celustka 76), O'Shea, Cuellar, Dossena; Larsson, Cattermole (Ki 70), Colback, Johnson (Borini 69); Fletcher, Altidore.
Subs (not used): Mannone (gk), Roberge, Gardner, Giaccherini.
Newcastle (4-2-3-1): Krul; Debuchy, Williamson, Dummett, Santon; Cabaye, Tiote; Gouffran, Sissoko (Cisse 46), Remy (Shola Ameobi 70); Ben Arfa.
Subs (not used): Elliot (gk), Haidara, Anita, Obertan, Sammy Ameobi.
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