A controversial Adam Johnson penalty and Billy Jones goal gave Sunderland their sixth consecutive victory over Newcastle. Sam Allardyce became the fourth successive boss to bounce back from an opening defeat to beat arch-rivals Newcastle as Sunderland finally secured their first win of the season.
However, he did so in controversial circumstances as the Magpies saw skipper Fabricio Coloccini sent off in first-half injury time for a professional foul seconds after Sunderland midfielder Lee Cattermole appeared to get away with two offences inside his own box.
Adam Johnson calmly converted from the spot to give the home side the lead with their only meaningful attempt on goal to pave the way for a record sixth successive derby win, which was secured when full-back Billy Jones tapped home a second with 25 minutes remaining and Steven Fletcher added a third at the death for a 3-0 victory.
Magpies boss Steve McClaren, who had seen his side dominate until Coloccini’s exit, angrily confronted referee Robert Madley on the pitch at half-time, but it was all to no avail as his hopes of back-to-back league victories went up in smoke with owner Mike Ashley among a crowd of 47,653 at the Stadium of Light.
McClaren’s men were utterly dominant before the break without carving out gilt-edged opportunities, and keeper Rob Elliot was not required to make a single save until he had to pick the ball out of his net in injury time.
Coloccini saw a weak third minute volley saved by Costel Pantilimon, who later fielded efforts from Georginio Wijnaldum and Moussa Sissoko with little difficulty.
However, the Romanian was extended by Black Cats’ old boy Jack Colback’s 27th minute volley at his near post and Aleksandar Mitrovic fired just wide from the resulting corner before Wijnaldum tested the keeper with a curling 44th minute free-kick.
Sunderland were poor and created little of note, but they forced their way in front in stoppage time at the end of the first half as the game erupted into controversy.
Cattermole was fortunate to escape unpunished after Wijnaldum flicked the ball past him and he blocked it with his right arm before appearing to haul the Dutchman down with his left, but not in the opinion of the referee.
But as Newcastle complained bitterly, the home side broke and Jermain Defoe, a 36th minute replacement for the injured Ola Toivonen, slipped a pass into the feet of Fletcher, who was barged to the ground by Coloccini.
Mr Madley pointed to the spot and issued a red card, and Johnson stepped up to slam the penalty into the bottom corner.
Newcastle should have been back on terms within 10 minutes of the restart when Cattermole turned Ayoze Perez’s attempted through-ball into the path of Mitrovic.
The Serbia international stepped inside full-back DeAndre Yedlin, only to drill his shot straight at the advancing Pantilimon.
Fletcher saw a rasping 64th minute effort deflected just over, but the home side extended their lead from the resulting corner when Yann M’Vila’s volley was stabbed into the net by Jones.
Johnson was denied a second goal for the afternoon by the crossbar with 18 minutes remaining, but Fletcher rounded things off with a sweet 86th minute volley from Younes Kaboul’s pin-point cross at the end of a pacy counter-attack.