For match photos, scroll to PHOTOSTREAM above left; for match stats, click on the stats tab. Manager reaction below
Sunderland's search for an away Premier League win continues after their 0-0 draw with Aston Villa.
Gus Poyet's side are winless on the road this season but did pick up their first away point since the 1-1 draw against Southampton in August.
They should have left Villa Park with all three, Emanuele Giaccherini hooking the ball over the bar from point-blank range at the end of the first half when it looked easier to score.
The hosts had slightly the better of a tight affair, but again it was the visitors who came closest to scoring in the second half, Fabio Borini striking the crossbar with a header in the 67th minute.
The hosts made four changes from Monday's draw at West Bromwich Albion, with Gabriel Agbonlahor and Andreas Weimann among those to return to the side following injury, while Poyet made three alterations as Andrea Dossena, Craig Gardner and Borini all came in.
Agbonlahor threatened twice inside the opening five minutes, glancing a header wide before curling a low shot from the edge of the box that was comfortable for Vito Mannone.
Goalmouth action was scarce in the opening half hour, Christian Benteke steering his effort a yard over the bar after being teed up by Ashley Westwood in the 29th minute.
Sebastian Larsson whipped a free-kick narrowly wide of the post four minutes later after Dossena had been fouled by Ron Vlaar on the corner of the box.
Former Villa man Gardner did have the ball in the net after 41 minutes, but the goal was rightly disallowed as the midfielder had received the pass in an offside position.
Giaccherini then spurned a golden opportunity on the stroke of half-time as the Italian somehow turned the ball over the bar from two yards after being picked out by Phil Bardsley's knock down.
Villa started the second half the stronger, Mannone beating away Agbonlahor's drive at the near post four minutes after the restart, before Westwood curled a shot straight at the goalkeeper from 25 yards.
Midway through the half, Borini met Giaccherini's left-wing cross firmly, only to see his glancing header crash off the bar and away to safety.
It was the last action of note, both sides struggling to create chances in the final stages as Sunderland made it five away games without a goal, although the draw did end a run of five consecutive away league defeats for Poyet's side.
Everton manager Roberto Martinez: “You are always a little bit wary of playing back-to-back home games. It is difficult to maintain that intensity when you come after a derby as it was the previous Saturday. It can be a dangerous position to get easily frustrated to allow the organisation of Stoke to be a strong point in the game, but we overcame that.
"We controlled the game well, we stopped Stoke from being a real threat and slowly we grew into the game and we created more and more opportunities and overall a very pleasing performance.
"In football it is fair to say there are no easy games, you are always going to play against teams that are well set-up. Stoke have been very tough to beat, they are difficult to play against.
"We respected Stoke a lot, but what pleased me was the players that came into the team were full of excitement and full of desire to perform well and that is really, really pleasing when that happens."
Stoke City manager Mark Hughes: “It was disappointing, obviously to concede the goals that we did and at the times that we did, that killed us to be honest. We conceded some very poor goals, especially the one right before the break. Had we gone in at half-time level then it could have been a totally different game.
“We then come out after the break and concede another straight away which pretty much takes the game away from us, and that is disappointing. In the end Everton were just too good for us today, and had great ability and pace which earned them the victory. We have to pick ourselves up very quickly.
“We didn’t do our jobs well enough in key areas of the pitch, and in key areas of the game – and in the end that has cost us dearly. I have learned a few things today, and I will look back at the match before Cardiff and then assess which eleven I think will be good enough to go out there and win the game, which is now our priority.”
|04 Dec 2013||v Southampton (A)|
|08 Dec 2013||v Fulham (A)|
|15 Dec 2013||v Man Utd (H)|
|21 Dec 2013||v Stoke (A)|
|26 Dec 2013||v Crystal Palace (H)|
|28 Dec 2013||v Swansea (H)|