The Irishman saw his side take a deserved lead through Danny Higginbotham's first goal for the club after passing up a series of earlier opportunities, and was off his seat as former Magpie Michael Chopra powered a header against the crossbar with eight minutes remaining.
However, by then James Milner had levelled when his 65th-minute cross crept inside Craig Gordon's far post to punish the Wearsiders for their profligacy.
Keane admitted his disappointment at only drawing a game he felt they had done enough to win, but refused to bemoan his luck.
Asked if he was disappointed not to have taken all three points, Keane said: "Yes, if you look at the chances and the way we played, but if we keep missing the chances we did, it is very hard to win any game.
"If you look at the chances and the performance, I think Sam (Allardyce) will probably be slightly happier than me tonight.
"But I am pleased with the performance and the attitude of the players and the spirit with which they played.
"The priority for any derby match is certainly don't lose it, and we did not do that, so we will take the pluses."