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Ameobi snatches derby draw
Derby specialist Shola Ameobi was Newcastle's hero once again as he spared Demba Ba's blushes with an injury-time equaliser in a 1-1 draw against 10-man Sunderland.
The substitute levelled at the death after Ba had seen an 83rd-minute penalty saved by Simon Mignolet.
Nicklas Bendtner had given the visitors a 24th-minute lead by converting a penalty, but the visitors managed to hang on until the dying seconds despite having Stephane Sessegnon sent off, while Black Cats captain Lee Cattermole was also dismissed after the final whistle for arguing with referee Mike Dean.
From the moment Cattermole senselessly careered into Cheick Tiote with just 40 seconds gone, it was they who largely set the tempo in a first half which, if not one for the purists, was nevertheless absorbing.
Dean failed to send off Chelsea's David Luiz for a clear red card offence in December and, having already handed out five cautions inside the opening 23 minutes, he awarded the Black Cats a penalty as Mike Williamson pulled Michael Turner's shirt in the area as the pair jockeyed for position under Kieran Richardson's free-kick.
It took several seconds for the travelling fans high up in the stands behind Simon Mignolet's goal to understand what had happened, but their joy increased markedly when Bendtner slid the spot-kick beyond Tim Krul's dive to open the scoring.
Newcastle went close in the final minute of the first half when Ba met a Ryan Taylor corner at the near post and thumped a header against the bar.
Sunderland's task increased in difficulty when Sessegnon was dismissed for lashing out at Tiote, although with Turner and John O'Shea defending doggedly, they were managing to hold firm, if at times at full stretch.
Dean pointed to the spot once again with eight minutes remaining after Fraizer Campbell had tripped fellow substitute Ameobi. Ba stepped up in anticipation of his 17th goal of the season, but saw Mignolet dive to his left to make a superb save.
However, there was nothing the Belgian could do to deny Ameobi when he stabbed home at the far post after Williamson had flicked on Cabaye's cross to spare Ba's blushes.