Sunderland snatch draw with Newcastle; Birmingham held by Villa


London: Asamoah Gyan scored a dramatic goal four minutes into injury time to give Sunderland a share of the points in a 1-1 draw with neighbours Newcastle United in a typically robust northeast derby Sunday.

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Kevin Nolan’s backheel seven minutes into the second half looked to have won it for the visitors but Gyan claimed the equaliser as the ball cannoned off him into the Sunderland net.

The result helped sixth-placed Sunderland close to within two points of Tottenham Hotspur.

Birmingham drew 1-1 with Aston Villa in the day’s other early kick-off.

At the Stadium of Light, Newcastle took the lead on 52 minutes when Nolan was on hand to backheel the ball into the net from three yards out.

Sunderland were well below par and time looked to have run out when they received an enormous stroke of luck to salvage an equaliser.

Phil Bardsley’s speculative 20-yard effort was saved by Steve Harper but the ball only rebounded off him and back off Gyan and into his own net.

The point moves Newcastle up one place to ninth.

Birmingham and Aston Villa remain stuck just above the relegation zone after they drew 1-1 in the midlands derby at St Andrews.

James Collins scored the vital equalising goal for Villa after Roger Johnson had volleyed Birmingham in front.