x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Premier League: Shola Ameobi rescues a point for Newcastle

Sunderland have two men sent off in 1-1 draw at Sports Direct Arena, while Pavel Pogrebnyak's superb start to life at Fulham continues with a hat-trick against Wolves.

Sunderland's James McLean, centre, goes head-to-head with Newcastle defender Danny Simpson. Laurence Griffiths / Getty Images
Sunderland's James McLean, centre, goes head-to-head with Newcastle defender Danny Simpson. Laurence Griffiths / Getty Images

Newcastle United 1 Sunderland 1

Shola Ameobi was delighted to have emerged as Newcastle United's hero against Sunderland once again.

Newcastle trailed to Nicklas Bendtner's first-half penalty but Ameobi grabbed his seventh goal in 12 games against the Black Cats in the final minute to hand the hosts a draw.

Earlier, Simon Mignolet, the Sunderland goalkeeper, saved a Demba Ba penalty while the Wearsiders' Stephane Sessegnon was dismissed for a needless elbow on Cheick Tiote.

"It has been a mad week," Ameobi told ESPN.

"I have had the flu and didn't expect to be involved today. It is just one of those games I tend to score in. It is such a fantastic feeling for me, the fans and the club.

"They made it tough for us but I managed to come off the bench and grab a goal. When you come on, you want to be on the scoresheet.

"I have started a lot of games against Sunderland so it's a new experience for me but the manager said to me 'Go and get me a goal' and I duly obliged."

Ba said a late change of heart contributed to his penalty miss.

"The keeper saved it brilliantly but I changed my mind at the last moment, which you shouldn't do when you are about to take a penalty," the striker said. "Thanks to Shola the club can be happy."

Martin O'Neill, the Sunderland manager, was frustrated by conceding a late equaliser.

"I am very proud of the team and very disappointed to have dropped the points so late in the game," he told ESPN.

"We played brilliantly first half and deserved to be in front. But it is difficult to win a game with 10 men. We defended resolutely and it was a terrific effort."

O'Neill had no qualms about Sessegnon's red card.

"It's a sending-off offence and it hands the initiative to the opposition," he said.

Sunderland will now be without their key performer for a number of games as well as Lee Cattermole, the captain, who picked up his 10th booking of the season early on and then saw red himself after the final whistle for using foul and abusive language to Mike Dean, the referee.

"You can't be abusing the referee and therefore it has to be merited," O'Neill said.

"There were plenty of mitigating circumstances though. Tiote is a fine player but he was very lucky still to be on the field."

Alan Pardew, the Newcastle manager, felt his half-time team talk changed the complexion of the game.

"In the first half Sunderland came here to upset us and Cattermole set the scene, it was ugly," he said. "Luckily we got to half time and got into our players about calming down and playing the game.

"We put them under pressure and sometimes people crack. And when Sessegnon was sent-off it was all us."

Pardew singled out Ameobi for particular praise.

"The goalscorer says everything about Newcastle United. He is a legend to me."

Fulham 5 Wolverhampton Wanderers 0

Pavel Pogrebnyak's superb start to life at Fulham continued as he netted a hat-trick in today's 5-0 thrashing of struggling Wolves.

The Russia international was drafted in on transfer deadline day to fill the void left by Bobby Zamora's move to QPR, but few could have predicted the on-loan striker's impact.

Having scored in his previous two appearances, Pogrebnyak continued that form against Wolves today with a first-half double.

The Stuttgart loanee gave the Cottagers a 36th-minute lead by heading home a Damien Duff corner, before hitting an exquisite second as half-time approached.

Fulham continued in the same vein in the second period and, after Clint Dempsey's effort put them on course for a third successive league win, Pogrebnyak bundled home his third of the afternoon.

Dempsey netted Fulham's fifth in the 83rd minute to leave Wolves with just one win in 13 league games.