LONDON, Dec 21 (Reuters) - Adam Johnson's late winner earned Sunderland a 1-0 victory over Newcastle United in a frantic Premier League Tyne-Wear derby at St James Park on Sunday.
With a minute remaining, and seconds after Moussa Sissoko had almost won it for hosts Newcastle, Johnson kept his cool to slam a shot past keeper Jak Alnwick and wrap up a fourth successive win for Sunderland in the fixture.
It was only Sunderland's third league victory of the season and lifted them to 14th place with 19 points.
Newcastle, who have lost three matches in a row in all competitions since beating leaders Chelsea, are ninth on 23.
A typically feisty affair did not take long to come to the boil with two yellow cards being shown inside 10 minutes.
Sunderland's Sebastian Coates was the first to enter referee Anthony Taylor's notebook after a foul on Ayoze Perez and was joined by Newcastle defender Fabricio Coloccini, who sank his knee into the back of Sunderland striker Connor Wickham.
Sunderland had the better of the first half and Wickham wasted a glorious chance to put them ahead when Johnson's free kick found him unmarked at the back post but he somehow headed wide with the goal begging.
Steven Fletcher hit the bar for Sunderland with a stretching volley from Sebastian Larsson's lofted pass.
Perez curled a shot just beyond the post for Newcastle but the hosts struggled to get a clear sight of goal.
Sunderland's profligacy in front of goal carried into the second half with Jordi Gomez firing over the bar with time and space to pick his spot.
That miss came while Newcastle were temporarily down to 10 men after defender Steven Taylor head-butted the post after making a desperate clearance, although he re-emerged battered and bruised a few minutes later.
Newcastle gradually built some momentum. Perez forced a fingertip save from Sunderland keeper Costel Pantilimon with a curler while minutes later Sissoko marauded forward and narrowly failed to connect when Sammy Ameobi played the ball across goal.
Pantilimon tipped a thunderous Sissoko drive over the bar but Sunderland then broke down the other end and Will Buckley played in Johnson to fire the winner. (Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Alan Baldwin)