HAVING given away the penalty that handed bitter rivals Sunderland a first-half lead defender, Mike Williamson could have been Newcastle United’s villain of the piece yesterday.
Williamson dragged down opposing centre-half Michael Turner in the Newcastle box, which saw the Black Cats awarded a 24th minute spot-kick.
Danish striker Nicklas Bendtner, on loan from Arsenal, stepped up to fire the Wearsiders in front, but rather than lambasting Williamson for the error, United boss Alan Pardew praised his man for standing up to be counted.
He said: “Mike’s had some stick from our fans in the past week, as well as from the media, and this is a boy who has done brilliant for us.
“Yesterday he gave a penalty away, and it would have been easy for him to crumble, but he didn’t.
“Second half he was magnificent.”
Williamson popped up at the other end of the field in the dying minutes to try to earn his side all three points.
It wasn’t to be, but had the defender managed to find the net, Pardew feels it would have been just rewards for the Toon star.
“It would have been a great justice for me, and for him, if he’d have got the winner,” he said.
“I’m disappointed he didn’t smash it into the top corner.”