Bridges grabs first goal of second spell.
27th November 2004
The one-nil win over Stoke back in November 2004 was not one of the most outstanding of games, however, with Michael Bridges scoring his first goal in his second spell with the Black Cats, it's quite a memorable one.
For much of the contest, it was an afternoon of frustration and futility for both sides as Stoke seemed determined to hold out for a goalless draw.
The home side's central defensive partnership of Wayne Thomas and Michael Duberry refused to give Sunderland's strike force of Marcus Stewart and Stephen Elliott an inch, while the Black Cats' backline was equally solid.
It was Sunderland's wingmen who had the greatest impact on the game as Liam Lawrence and Julio Arca were a constant threat down both the left and right flank firing crosses into the box.
However, neither striker could profit from their teammates endeavour. As Stewart, who was looking to end a 10-game goal drought, drilled a left-footed effort narrowly wide and then again on the hour-mark he had another long-range effort, which didn't find the target.
It was 'new signing' Michael Bridges who illuminated the drab affair, after both Stewart and Elliott were replaced by Chris Brown and Bridges up front in the second half.
Bridges rejoined the Black Cats a month earlier and was still looking for his first goal.
The breakthrough came as the two strikers seemed determined to shatter Stoke's mean defence.
Bridges took advantage of a cross from Lawrence to head home the only goal of the game.
It couldn't have been much sweeter for Bridges, as he nodded home the 83rd minute winner in front of the travelling Sunderland fans and grabbed a vital three points for Mick McCarthy's side.
Stoke: Simonsen, Halls, Duberry, Thomas, Hill (Palmer 89), Greenacre (Neal 68), Brammer, Clarke, Russell, Asaba, Noel-Williams
Sunderland: Myhre, Wright, Breen, McCartney, Caldwell, Arca, Carter, Whitehead, Lawrence (Lynch 90), Stewart (Brown 60), Elliott (Bridges 75)