For match photos, scroll to PHOTOSTREAM above left, for stats click on match stats tab. Manager reaction to follow
Goals from Charlie Adam and Steven N'Zonzi earned Stoke City a 2-0 win over 10-man Sunderland at the Britannia Stadium. Adam was in the thick of the action in the first half, opening the scoring on the half-hour before being involved in the incident where Wes Brown was sent off nine minutes before half-time.
Brown was adjudged to have committed a reckless tackle onthe former Liverpool midfielder and was given his marching orders. N'Zonzi doubled Stoke's lead nine minutes from the end as Mark Hughes' men made the most of their numerical advantage to record a first Barclays Premier League win since the end of August. The result moves Stoke three points clear of the relegation places and drops Sunderland to bottom.
Hughes made one change to his Stoke starting line-up, with Glenn Whelan coming in for Wilson Palacios, while Sunderland head coach Gus Poyet named an unchanged team after a 1-0 win over Manchester City prior to the international break.
It was Sunderland who were first to find their rhythm. Adam Johnson and Emanuele Giaccherini combined to set up Jack Colback, whose shot was blocked, before Stoke goalkeeper Asmir Begovic denied Steven Fletcher from a one-on-one opportunity.
Despite the clever passing of Adam and some neat touches from Peter Crouch, Stoke struggled to create a meaningful chance until breaking the deadlock on the half-hour. N'Zonzi raced on to Geoff Cameron's long punt forward, held it up and stroked the ball back to the onrushing Adam, who passed into the bottom corner from just inside the box for his third goal of the season.
Things got worse for Sunderland on 35 minutes. Referee Kevin Friend adjudged that Brown had dangerously fouled Adam and sent him off.
Stoke enjoyed much of the possession at the start of the second half. Both Jonathan Walters and Crouch failed to connect with an inviting Cameron cross, before Adam burst through the midfield but failed to keep his shot down.
Johnson found space on the edge of the opposition box on 70 minutes, but the winger, who scored a 25-yard strike for Manchester City against Stoke in the 2011/12 season, dragged his shot wide.
Begovic had to be alert to race from his line and, with an outstretched leg, clear the ball before Fletcher. The Bosnia and Herzegovina goalkeeper caught the Scotland striker in the process, but Sunderland’s appeals for a penalty were waved away.
Sunderland were enjoying a good spell of pressure, but were hit on the counter-attack with nine minutes remaining. Adam fed Couch, who slid the ball between two defenders for N'Zonzi to clip it home. The former France Under-21 international became Stoke's 10th scorer in the Barclays Premier League this season.
Stoke manager Mark Hughes: "I thought we played really, really well and deserved the three points. I'm sure people will look at the sending-off and suggest it was pivotal but I don't think it was. We've scored two really good goals today and showed a great deal of quality, which is pleasing.
"All in all, I'm pleased with the goals we’re scoring at the moment. Today's were two great finishes from Charlie and Steven and we're really pleased with the outcome of the day."
"I wasn't aware of [the win being my 100th Barclays Premier League victory as manager] until someone mentioned it after the game. I suppose it's a nice stat but it's not about me. It's all about a good team performance and a win that I think will really settle us down."
Sunderland head coach Gus Poyet: "[Wes Brown’s sending off] was a key moment. It was a moment when we were trying to come back, to press. Then we were down to 10 men. I had to put on a centre-half and take off a player like (Emanuele) Giaccherini. It was a different game. It doesn't mean that if it was 11 against 11 we would have won the game.
"I don't know [what happens] away from home. We scored two own-goals and [conceded] a penalty against Swansea, we had two sending offs against Hull, and another one today. We need to change.
"I'm going to analyse the game. I'm not going to analyse the red card again because it was very [clear] for me. We need to improve, keep getting better, make sure we don't concede."
|30 Nov 2013||v Everton (A)|
|12 Apr 2014||v Newcastle (H)|
|14 Dec 2013||v Hull (A)|
|08 Mar 2014||v Norwich (A)|
|29 Mar 2014||v Hull (H)|
|15 Mar 2014||v West Ham (H)|