DANNY GUTHRIE made a goalscoring return from injury yesterday just as one of his former Newcastle United team-mates decided to pay tribute to the club's supporters on Tyneside.

At around the same time as Joey Barton was reflecting on his time at St James' Park from the comfort of his new home at Queens Park Rangers, Guthrie was involved in a second-string defeat to North-East neighbours Sunderland.

Guthrie has not played a game since breaking his ankle in the controversial pre-season friendly at Darlington in July, but capped his comeback match with a goal in Newcastle's 4-3 loss on Wearside.

It was the former Liverpool and Bolton midfielder's strike on the stroke of half-time that opened the floodgates for a goal feast and Sunderland's James Armstrong levelled seconds later.

But then Sunderland's Academy of Light training complex was treated to five goals in the second 45 minutes, with Jordan Cook, summer signing James McClean and Alex Gorrin putting the Black Cats 4-1 up.

Newcastle did find the net twice through an unnamed trialist and Michael Richardson in stoppage time, but Sunderland held on to secure a victory which has eluded them in the Premier League under Steve Bruce.

The appearance of Titus Bramble and Michael Turner for the whole 90 minutes will have given Bruce food for thought ahead of the visit of Chelsea on Saturday, with Anton Ferdinand's departure freeing up a hole alongside Wes Brown at the heart of the defence.

And Newcastle manager Alan Pardew - who took in Switzerland's 3-1 win over Bulgaria on Tuesday night when Xherdan Shaqiri hit a hat-trick - will have been encouraged to see Guthrie come through unscathed ahead of Monday night's trip to QPR.

Pardew has already learned he will be without attacking midfielder Haris Vuckic for the next three weeks. He has undergone an operation on the hand he fractured in the victory over Fulham.

There is much anticipation ahead of Barton's debut for the Hoops at Loftus Road against his former club, following the player's decision to accept a free transfer from Newcastle last month.

The Magpies' board were keen to see him leave after months of disagreements over extending his contract, but the 28-year-old has moved to acknowledge the supporters who used to get behind him at St James' Park.

"The fans were brilliant at Newcastle," Barton said. "In my last couple of seasons there, they've supported the football club through thick and thin. I'll always have a relationship with them.

"We had a journey with them - not just me but a number of players in the squad, when the club dropped out of the Premier League.

"That could have been a difficult and turbulent time in the club's history but we regrouped as a playing staff and decided that we'd dig deep and not only get the club back to the Premier League, but to stabilise it quite comfortably last season.

"What's gone is gone. I'm never going to say a bad word about the football club or the fans. I wish them every success."

Sunderland reserves: Carson (Dixon 38), Laing, Turner, Bramble, Liddle (Watson 78), mcClean, Lynch (Gorrin 76), Armstrong, Elliott, Knott, Cook.

Newcastle reserves: Soderberg, Nzuzi, Riley, Perch, Folan, Richardson, Abeid, Guthrie, Sammy Ameobi, Donaldson, Ranger.