Newcastle 5 – 1 Sunderland
Nolan became the first player to score a hat-trick in the fixture since Peter Beardsley 25 years ago, in a stunning performance that ended a week of speculation surrounding Toon boss Chris Hughton’s future at the club. And speaking after the game Newcastle captain Nolan was quick to dedicate the famous victory to his under-pressure manager.
“He deserves that for what he has been put through this week. I’m delighted for the fans and for the manager. It’s fantastic, unbelievable. That hat-trick will live with me forever.”
Newcastle took the lead in the 26th minute when Nolan hooked home an improvised overhead kick after Shola Ameobi headed down Joey Barton’s corner. And the former Bolton midfielder made it two eight minutes later when he beat Sunderland’s offside trap to steer home Andy Carroll’s acrobatic knock-down.
St James’ Park was rocking and Shola Ameobi sent the Geordie faithful further into dreamland when he stroked home from the spot in the 45th minute after Nedum Onuoha felled Jonas Gutierrez.
Things went from bad to worse for Sunderland just seven minutes after the re-start when former Newcastle flop Titus Bramble picked up his marching orders for a clumsy lunge on Carroll. Referee Phil Dowd deemed the challenge worthy of a red card and Bramble left the field to possibly the loudest cheer he’s ever received at St James’ Park.
Carroll continued to torment the Black Cats defense and when his thunderous header from the returning Danny Simpson’s cross rebounded off the bar, Ameobi was on hand to lash home his second and Newcastle’s fourth in the 70th minute. Before man of the match Nolan hammered the final nail into Sunderland’s coffin when he sealed his hat-trick with an unmarked header five minutes later.
Darren Bent’s late strike offered scant consolation as Sunderland slipped to their first defeat in seven games leaving Back Cats boss Steve Bruce to rue his side’s horror Halloween performance.
The Geordie-born manager said:
“It’s very difficult and will take some repairing. All I can do is apologize. To get beaten as badly as that, here of all places, will take a lot of recovering.
“We got our backsides smacked, no excuses. It is very painful and that is up there with the worst of them because no-one could see it coming.”
One man who enjoyed every minute of the game was Toon chief Hughton who received loud chants of support from the home fans throughout the game.
“I’m a very, very proud man after watching my players put in an outstanding performance. They made a very tough game look very comfortable. The first goal was crucial but once we scored, I was delighted to see them pushing for a second, then a third, fourth and fifth.”
The result sees Newcastle move up to seventh in the table ahead of next weekend’s testing trip to the Emirates to take on Arsenal.