SUNDERLAND, England (AP) — Sunderland produced its first Premier League victory of the season on Sunday, beating Newcastle 2-1 in the hotly contested northeast derby.
Fabio Borini, who is on loan from Liverpool, blasted in his first Sunderland goal for an 84th minute winner after being set up by Jozy Altidore. Steven Fletcher had headed Sunderland in front after five minutes and Mathieu Debuchy equalized from close range in the 57th.
But Borini's goal ensured Sunderland rose off the bottom of the standings, a point above Crystal Palace, just two matches into Gus Poyet's reign as manager. "If we play like we played today, with a little bit more calm on the ball, we can really improve our game," Borini said.
Poyet opted to pair Fletcher with summer signing Altidore and the pair caused Paul Dummett and defensive partner Mike Williamson all kinds of problems in a high-octane start by Sunderland. The hosts needed just five minutes to force their way in front.
Adam Johnson played a corner short to Sebastian Larsson and then delivered the return pass to the far post for Fletcher to climb high above Dummett and head home. It was the perfect start to Poyet's first game at the Stadium of Light and for 20 heady minutes or more, Sunderland dominated proceedings with Lee Cattermole leading the fight from central midfield and the rest of the team following suit.
Johnson repeatedly made ground down the left and delivered a series of telling crosses, Fletcher glancing a 14th-minute header wide from one of them, three minutes before forcing Newcastle goalkeeper Tim Krul into a save with a well-struck effort from distance.
Newcastle manager Alan Pardew, who had started with Hatem Ben Arfa at the pinnacle of 4-2-3-1 formation, was forced to abandon Plan A with his team simply not competing. Loic Remy moved into an advanced position and Newcastle was far more effective.
However, all of Newcastle's better attempts came from distance with Yohan Cabaye prompting Keiren Westwood to make his only real first-half save with a dipping 16th-minute free kick, but both he and Ben Arfa were significantly more wayward thereafter.
Perhaps the Magpies' most promising attack of the opening 45 minutes came eight minutes before the break when left back Davide Santon picked out right back Debuchy with an elegant pass and Larsson had to head his dangerous cross away with Newcastle shirts arriving in numbers.
Pardew opted for further change at the break, sending on striker Papiss Cisse for midfielder Moussa Sissoko, but Newcastle was able to create little during the opening exchanges of the second half despite enjoying a wealth of possession.
But Newcastle was back in it 12 minutes after the restart when Ben Arfa accepted Cabaye's pass and drove a low cross across the face of goal for Debuchy to convert at the far post. Cabaye fired just wide after good work by Santon and Ben Arfa with 63 minutes gone, with the visitors starting to turn the screw.
However, Borini almost made his name on Wearside within seconds of his arrival as a 69th-minute replacement for Johnson, blasting a shot through Krul, only to see the goalkeeper gratefully grab the ball at the second attempt.
Davide Santon drilled a skidding effort just wide with 14 minutes remaining and Shola Ameobi, on as a 70th-minute replacement for Remy, went just as close two minutes later. But the decisive moment came at the other end five minutes from time when Borini ran on to Altidore's lay-off and smashed an unstoppable shot past Krul to win it.