MON's men going Potters.Last time these two teams met, blizzard conditions threatened to cancel the game but the Lads came out on top 1-0. In a similarly tight game, both teams had chances but couldn’t score. They now have six draws a piece this season but Martin O’Neill will be looking at his options in order to get Sunderland a win.
The game didn’t come alive until the 22nd minute, when a rash challenge by Danny Rose on USA full back Geoff Cameron resulted in one of Stoke’s infamous in-swinging dead ball situations. New boy Charlie Adam pinged the ball right on Mignolet who parried it away. Rose, now on a yellow card, made a desperate but goal-saving block. Mignolet saved the volley from Shawcross and finally the melee was over, with the score line still level.
Sunderland themselves almost took the lead nine minutes later, when Larsson swung a free kick in. Carlos Cuellar, on the edge of the box, managed to get a flick on and the ball travelled just wide of Begovic’s post and in front of the away supporters.
Fifteen minutes into the second half Stephane Sessegnon came on for the injured Seb Larsson and Sunderland went back to their normal 4-4-1-1 formation. Soon after, Mignolet produced another good save from Charlie Adam, who brought the best out of the Belgian.
Shortly after the save, Sessegnon managed to get in behind Stoke and passed to Steven Fletcher, who was just inside the box. The Scotsman’s shot was goal bound until it was stopped by Huth’s hand. However, it would have been harsh to give a penalty and there was little appeal from the players.
As Phil Bardsley came on for his first appearance of the season, Huth tried to give Stoke the lead but Mignolet again produced a fine save, confirming his man of the match performance.
Sunderland survived Stoke’s constant aerial bombardment, keeping Peter Crouch mainly at bay, however the Black Cats failed to have a shot on target. New signing James McFadden, who completed his move on Friday, will be looking to get into the side to create more chances for striker Steven Fletcher.
The Black Cats’ next game is on Tuesday night against Middlesbrough in the Wear-Tees derby. If MON’s men can get a result, it will mean going into the quarter finals of the Capital One Cup.
Simon Mignolet, Craig Gardner, Danny Rose, Carlos Cuellar, John O’Shea, Seb Larsson, Lee Cattermole, Jack Colback, James McClean, Adam Johnson, Steven Fletcher