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​Sunderland's Fletcher backs ref over Newcastle sending-off

Sunderland forward Steven Fletcher insists referee Rob Madley was correct to award a penalty and send off Newcastle skipper Fabricio Coloccini in Sunday's Tyne-Wear derby.

The Black Cats took full advantage with a 3-0 victory at the Stadium of Light.

Fletcher went to ground under Coloccini's shoulder charge and saw Madley point to the spot and produce a red card.

Magpies boss Steve McClaren was adamant the challenge was not even a foul and will appeal against the decision.

Fletcher, however, was convinced the official had got it right.

He said: "I was just looking at the ball, so I didn't know he was coming. When you're not expecting it, it's going to be a harder hit.

"He knocked me off. I think he just tried to stop me getting to the ball. It's a free-kick anywhere else, so why not a penalty?"

Ian Ferris
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Ian Ferris

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