There was no St. Valentines massacre at Newcastle’s training ground as bitter rivals Newcastle and Sunderland played out a thoroughly entertaining draw, writes David Pilkington.
Sunderland, buoyed by their win over Liverpool at the weekend, started brightly, pressing forward in the opening minute, but Jack Diamonds cross from the left was easily cleared.
The Magpies instantly responded pushing forward with Ben Kitchen cruising down the right to swing a deep cross in which was comfortably collected by keeper Woud.
It was a typical Tyne Wear derby with both teams pressing for the opener.
And it was the visitors who drew first blood when Chris Allan fen the ball through to Lee Connelly in the 16th minute for the striker to a fierce strike, leaving home keeper Ben Smith no chance.
The hosts quickly responded with Craig Spooner twisting and turning at the edge of the area, but Woud was quick to responded blocking the attempt on goal.
It was total end to end football with both teams going all out for it. The hosts managed to get an equaliser 32 minutes in when Ben Kitchen crossed to Kelland Watts to send a looping header over Woud.
From then on the game got more physical with both teams going in with crunching tackles, playing as if their life depended on the final result.
The visitors finished the first half looking stronger, and deservedly re-took the lead in the 43rd minute with Oscar Krushnell feeding in Connolly to coolly slot home for his and Sunderland’s second.
The young Magpies threw everything the had at Sunderland in the second half forcing Woud to make some outstanding saves denying Sangare, Watts and Callum Smith in quick succession.
However Newcastle finally did beat keeper Woud for the equaliser in the 65th minute, following a goalmouth scramble, the ball fell to Wilson to drive through a sea of legs to hit home.
Both teams pressed for the winner but it ended in a stalemate at 2-2.
Sunderland coach Mark Atkinson said post match "I was really pleased with the performance from the lads. Two great goals from Lee (Connelly).
"I thought we were on the back foot a little in the second half for about the first 20-25 minutes, but as the game want on we grew in character.
"We are now two games unbeaten and the confidence is showing. Michael (Woud) Made some tremendous saves."
Sunderland: Woud, Gamble, Krushnell, Hickey (J Connolly 70), Taylor (c), Young, Best (Kimpioka 78), Allan, Diamond, Connelly, Hackett.
Subs not used: Patterson, Slack, Howard.
Newcastle: B Smith, Kitchen, Cass, Lowther, Bailey, Adu-Peprah, Spooner, Sangare, Watts, Wilson, C Smith.
Subs not used: Allen, Huuhtanen, Alpin, Gamblin, Aziakonou.