A Kevin Nolan hat-trick, alongside a Shola Ameobi brace put paid to any hopes ten-man Sunderland had of coming away from the day with any share of the spoils, a late Darren Bent strike proving too little far too late for the visitors. Titus Bramble was sent off in the 53rd minute following a professional challenge on Andy Carroll. Despite looking much-improved in the second half, the 3-0 half-time deficit proved far too heavy a burden for Sunderland’s players to shift.
With both sides appearing to aim for mid-table safety this season, and regional pride at stake, the clash could easily be considered a six-pointer in more ways than one, but the despondency surrounding the Sunderland faithful this evening was echoed in Steve Bruce’s post-match statement: “No excuses. We were beaten well and truly. We were na