Hughton is on derby high but Bruce is left feeling battered

Captain Kevin Nolan plundered a derby hat-trick to hand manager Chris Hughton the perfect ending to an eventful week as Newcastle routed Sunderland 5-1 yesterday.

The midfielder put the home side 2-0 ahead within 34 minutes and completed his treble 15 minutes from time, after striker Shola Ameobi had helped himself to two goals, the first of them from the penalty spot.

It was the first hat-trick in the fixture since Peter Beardsley achieved the feat for Newcastle in January 1985.

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Sunderland, who had former Magpies defender Titus Bramble sent off for an ill-judged challenge on Andy Carroll in the 53rd minute, were never in contention on a day when their promoted neighbours won at

St James' Park for the first time in five attempts.

Darren Bent's last-minute strike was no consolation for the travelling fans, many of whom had already left.

It proved a sweet afternoon for Hughton following a week during which speculation over his future at the club reached fever pitch.

The 51-year-old was serenaded by the delighted home contingent in a crowd of 51,988 as his side completely outplayed their most bitter rivals, who rarely troubled goalkeeper Tim Krul until Bent's late effort, despite Geordie manager Steve Bruce sending on record signing Asamoah Gyan before half-time to add firepower.

Sunderland had conceded only seven goals in their first nine Barclays Premier League games, but were repeatedly torn apart by a committed Magpies side even before Bramble's premature departure.

The Black Cats arrived on Tyneside in an optimistic mood on the back of a seven-game unbeaten Barclays Premier League run to meet a side which had not won on their own pitch in four attempts.

But Sunderland's goals-against total was to rise significantly inside a rousing opening 45 minutes during which Newcastle took the game by the scruff of the neck.

Asked if the rousing win had added firepower to his armoury over his contract, Hughton said: "My position is no different this week to what it was last week and the week before.

"I am manager of this football club and very proud to be manager of this football club, and I am endeavouring to get the best results possible, and we were able to do that (against Sunderland). My position is no different. Those decisions are always down to the club, as they always have been.

"My remit at this moment is to do the best job that I can. I am incredibly proud of a group of players who made a very, very difficult game comfortable at times for them."

For Sunderland's Geordie manager Bruce, defeat was a bitter pill to swallow, and he offered an unreserved apology to the club's fans.

Bruce said: "The mark of any team or any individual is how you respond to it.

"All I can do is apologise. When you get beaten as badly as that, here of all places, it will take a lot of recovering. Me, as manager, I will take full responsibility. Anything that could have gone wrong went wrong, from red cards to mistakes.

"I have been saying all week that we must handle the occasion. But from the off we didn't and we got blown away by a far superior team on the day.

"We were playing a big derby game and we had three or four players. To win it, you need seven or eight – that's what Newcastle had and we didn't have enough and we got our backsides kicked."

Asked if it was his worst moment in football management, Bruce said: "In football management? Probably in my career, I would have thought.

"It's still trying to sink in what we have just witnessed."

Of his hat-trick, Nolan said: "Obviously it's fantastic. We knew it would be tough – and I think it was, I think we got lucky with a couple of the goals.

"We're delighted, we've worked so hard this week and it's paid off."

As for his first top-flight hat-trick, Nolan said: "It's unbelievable. I made my debut against these (Sunderland) and to score a hat-trick will live with me forever."