Alan Pardew and Martin O'Neill front up. omnisport
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Newcastle boss Pardew 'sorry' for celebrating

“I’ve seen it back on the television and it looks terrible. But it was just sheer relief.”

NEWCASTLE MANAGER ALAN Pardew has apologised for his celebrations after Shola Ameobi’s late equaliser against Sunderland on Sunday.

Ameobi’s stoppage-time leveller rescued a point for Newcastle as the Tyne-Wear derby finished in an entertaining 1-1 draw that saw the visitors finish with nine men after Stephane Sessegnon and Lee Cattermole were sent off.

Earlier in the second half, Demba Ba had a penalty saved and hit the bar and it looked like Nicklas Bendtner’s first-half penalty might be enough for Sunderland.

But Ameobi struck in the dying stages which saw Pardew charge to the Sunderland bench. ”I do regret, approaching the Sunderland bench the way I did,” Pardew said. ”I’ve seen it back on the television and it looks terrible. But it was just sheer relief that we looked as though we might get something out of it.”

“This is a game in which the pressure is unbelievable and unless you’re a manager or a player for Newcastle you can’t appreciate it – we were 1-0 down to Sunderland with the expectation of 50,000 Geordies on our shoulders.”

Pardew said his team-talk at the break changed the way in which his side approached the match. ”In the first half Sunderland came here to upset us and Cattermole set the scene. It was ugly,” he said.

“Luckily we got to half-time and got into our players about calming down and playing the game. We put them under pressure and sometimes people crack. And when Sessegnon was sent-off it was all us.”

Sunderland boss Martin O’Neill was proud of his men after their battling performance.

“I am very proud of the team and very disappointed to have dropped the points so late in the game,” O’Neill said. ”We played brilliantly first half and deserved to be in front. But it is difficult to win a game with 10 men. We defended resolutely and it was a terrific effort.”

O’Neill had no problems with the decisions to give Sessegnon or Cattermole – who was given his second red card after the final whistle had blown for abusing referee Mike Dean – red cards.

“It’s a sending-off offence and it hands the initiative to the opposition,” he said. ”I have gone in to see the referee and you can’t be abusing the referee and therefore it has to be merited,” O’Neill said. ”There were plenty of mitigating circumstances though.”