The most crucial since the Division Two play-off drama of 1990 was poor at best.
But what of the history of the classic fixture?
1898: Sunderland 2-3 United
Over 10,000 of the Victorian-era Toon Army travelled to the recently-opened Roker Park for the first ever league derby. Goals from Jock Peddie (2) and Willie Wardrope gave first blood to the Magpies.
1908: United 1-9 Sunderland
An astonishing game. 1-1 at half-time, Newcastle were reduced to nine men in the second half and Sunderland somehow netted eight times. United would go on to be league champions.
1927: United 1-0 Sunderland
A goal from the great Hughie Gallacher in front of 67,067 at Gallowgate gave the Toon the points (two for a win at this time) as they homed in on their last - to date - league title.
1956: United 0-2 Sunderland
United had already lifted three FA Cups during the 1950s before this quarter-final cracker came out of the bag. The Magpies were expected go on and claim their fourth trophy of the decade. Sunderland had other ideas.
1956: Sunderland 1-6 Newcastle
Over 55,000 were at Roker Park on a chilly Boxing Day to see Milburn and Keeble run riot. The very next day, United won 3-1 at St James’ in the reverse fixture.
1969: United 3-0 Sunderland
Joe Harvey’s Fairs Cup winners made light work of demolishing relegation-bound Sunderland as 56,317 squeezed into Gallowgate. Keith Dyson (2) and Wyn Davies netted for a team that would qualify for Europe for the second time.
1979: United 1-4 Sunderland
Gary Rowell and co were given the freedom of St James’ Park at a time both teams found themselves in Division 2. Rowell hit three to earn Sunderland’s first win on Tyneside in over 12 years.
1985: United 3-1 Sunderland
A raucous, boozy New Year’s Day atmosphere. Peter Beardsley kept a cool head in the heat of the battle, scoring three times. The Wearsiders were relegated at the end of the season.
1990: Newcastle 0-2 Sunderland
A two-legged Second Division semi-final play-off with the ultimate prize of a place in the top flight dangling. The first leg, at Roker Park, ended 0-0. Days later, Gates and Gabbiadini gave Sunderland a shock win at Gallowgate.
1996: Sunderland 1-2 Sunderland
Sunderland threw the kitchen sink at Kevin Keegan’s Entertainers in the first half, going 1-0 up. United’s class finally told with goals from Beardsley and Ferdinand securing the win. Relegation beckoned for the Black Cats.
1999: United 1-2 Sunderland
The end of the road for Gullit. Famously, Alan Shearer and Duncan Ferguson were left on the bench as Sunderland came from behind to win in the pouring rain. Gullit paid by losing his job.
2005: United 3-2 Sunderland
An enjoyable, see-saw game at a rocking St James’. Four goals in seven breathless first-half minutes saw the teams locked at 2-2. In the 63rd minute, a sweet Emre free-kick at the Gallowgate End settled the matter.
2006: Sunderland 1-4 Newcastle
With the home team already relegated, United’s fans had a day to remember as the black and whites took control in the second half. Alan Shearer’s final game and goal for United.
2010: United 5-1 Sunderland 1
The ‘demolition derby’. United pulverised their visitors, with a Shola Ameobi brace and a Kevin Nolan hat-trick doing the damage. Darren Bent grabbed a 90th-minute consolation. The Toon’s last home derby victory.
2013: United 0-3 Sunderland
With both teams battling at the bottom of the Premier League, Sunderland earned their biggest derby win since 1966 and began their current sequence of victories.