SUNDERLAND reporter Chris Young gives his verdict after the Black Cats secured a record fourth successive win over Newcastle United.
Pantilimon 8: Couple of brilliant tip overs to keep out Perez and Sissoko shots, and dominated his area from set pieces.
Vergini 7: Had his hands full with Ameobi during the second half, but recovered his composure after a shaky start.
Coates 8: Thrust into the starting line-up at the last minute, but produced his first assured display in a red and white shirt after a nervy first few moments.
Brown 8: One scare when Perez got a yard on him during the second half, but injected real composure into Sunderland defence.
O’Shea 8: Asked to turn the clock back by filling in at left-back through Reveillere’s injury in the warm-up, but never looked flustered.
Cattermole 7: Smashed into Janmaat after 10 seconds, but gradually began to exert some control in midfield during first half. Came off after knock to the knee. (Bridcutt 7 - Picked up where Cattermole left-off, just as Newcastle were beginning to enjoy some midfield control).
LARSSON 9: Looks two yards quicker this season and continues to play the best football of his career. Persistently broke up Newcastle’s approach play and produced a brilliant through-ball when Fletcher hit the bar.
Gomez 8: Missed a sitter, but found space and took the sting out of the game in the first half.
Johnson 9: Proving to be the Magpie slayer for Sunderland after netting his third in as many games at St James’s Park. Spurned a great chance earlier in the game, but produced a brilliant break for the winner.
Wickham 8: Should have opened the deadlock when he somehow headed wide from a yard out, but a powerhouse who Newcastle struggled to handle. (Buckley 7 - Couple of sloppy clearances after coming on, but set up Johnson for the winner).
Fletcher 8: Hold-up play was immaculate and unlucky not to score when his volley from Larsson’s through-ball came back off the bar.