SAFC v Stoke

Sunderland 1 Stoke 1

by James, Junior Black Cats reporter

O'Shea earns Cats a point.

Sunderland had to get back to winning ways against Stoke at home but a point doesn’t confirm their place in the Premier League next season yet.

The Potters took the lead on nine minutes after N’Diaye cleared a dangerous Shotton throw in for a corner. Charlie Adam swung in the ball and Jonathon Walter’s header was blocked by Danny Graham, standing just in front of Mignolet. However, the ball bounced back into the path of the Irishman and he duly fired the ball home, much to the delight of the 200 fans following Stoke.

Four minutes later, Craig Gardner hit a 30 yard free kick just wide as Sunderland desperately tried to get back into the game. However, on the 33rd minutes, things got even more desperate. The 50-50 ball between Charlie Adam and Craig Gardner resulted in Gardner diving high into the tackle and getting shown a straight red for the high tackle. Sunderland would need resilience and fight to get a result.

In the last minute of the three added in the first 45, Johnson was standing over a free kick. Hitting it towards the far corner, the ball bounced just wide of Begovic’s right hand post.

Sunderland were a different side in the second half and, playing possibly the best he has all season, Adam Johnson got them off to a good start, stinging the fingers of Begovic with a 30 yard drive after cutting in from the right.

On the hour mark, Sebastian Larsson delivered a dead ball which resulted in ex Cat Dean Whitehead clearing John O’Shea’s shot off the line. The centre back had been set up by fellow defender Carlos Cuellar.

Three minutes later it was a case of same combination, different outcome. Another Larsson corner was swung towards O’Shea, whole tapped the ball in with his left peg at the back post to give the Lads and equaliser and the fans a goal which they appreciated in their ecstatic celebrations.

The visitors could have re-taken the lead on 75 minutes. The ball bounced out to the unmarked Whitehead who drilled the ball throw a sea of players. Despite the box being overcrowded, Mignolet still managed to gratefully clutch onto the ball.

Danny Rose almost scored his second goal in as many games. The same combination as his Villa goal was there as Danny Graham set up other Danny. However, his right footed shot from the edge of the box grazed the outside of the post. The goal would have boosted SAFC up to the magical 40 point mark.

With a Sunday home game against Southampton, Sunderland still have their safety in their own hands with two games to go.

Sunderland team:
Simon Mignolet, Craig Gardner, Danny Rose, Carlos Cuellar, john O’Shea ©, Seb Larsson, Alfred N’Diaye, James McClean, Jack Colback, Adam Johnson and Danny Graham.

Stoke team:
Asmir Begovic, Ryan Shotton, Marc Wilson, Robert Huth, Ryan Shawcross ©, Steven N’Zonzi, Dean Whitehead, Jonathon Walters, Charlie Adam, Cameron Jerome and Peter Crouch.