Sunderland managed to secure a crucial second consecutive victory on Saturday when they managed a 2-0 win over a ten-man Stoke City.
It was a very slow first period with the only real chances coming from Jermain Defoe and Jonathan Walters, but neither could find the net.
However, Stoke were reduced to ten men at the beginning of the second period when Ryan Shawcross was dismissed and the Black Cats took advantage as goals from Patrick van Aanholt and Duncan Watmore in the final ten minutes managed to drag them out of the relegation zone.
It was a very slow paced start to the game as the first opportunity of any recognition didn’t come until the 17th minute.
Sebastian Larsson showed some great footwork on the edge of the area before laying it off to Defoe and, full of confidence from his winning goal on Monday, he let one fly from 20 yards that just whistled past Jack Butland’s post.
The next real opportunity fell to the away side just after the half hour mark, but Costel Pantilimon managed to produce a world class save to keep the scores level.
A ball was fizzed into the six yard area by Erik Pieters which was met by Walters and it looked certain that he had given Stoke the lead, but Pantilimon did brilliantly to get down and make the point-blank save.
Stoke had another great chance before the break too when they countered from a corner and Xherdan Shaqiri attempted to chip the ball over Sunderland’s defence to Marko Arnautovic, but he was flagged offside.
The second half couldn’t have started much worse for Stoke as they were reduced to ten men when Watmore was brought down by Shawcross and Mike Dean had no choice but to send him off, with him the last man.
Butland was called into action shortly after when Jeremain Lens’ cross was met by Sebastian Coates, but the young keeper did brilliantly to tip his effort over the crossbar.
Sunderland take advantage
After that excellent save the game died down somewhat as 10-man Stoke side sat back, with Sunderland dominating.
Lens tried his best to create the opening goal with 15 minutes to play as he nearly picked out Steven Fletcher at the back post, but Stoke once again managed to clear brilliantly.
With eight minutes to play, however, Sunderland finally managed to take a crucial lead.
Adam Johnson had been causing the Stoke defence trouble since coming off the bench and it was he who registered the assist for the opener when he rolled a free-kick to full-back van Aanholt and the Dutchman brilliantly let fly from 25 yards, the shot blazing past Butland and into the bottom corner.
The points were secured three minutes later when Sam Allardyce’s side doubled their lead.
It was poor defending from Stokes point of view as Pieters made a hash of his clearance which allowed Watmore to be rewarded for his persistence as he collected the ball and did well to place it low beyond Butland to secure the victory.
Johnson nearly added a third deep into extra-time when he tried his luck from 25 yards out, but his off-target effort did not matter as the points had already been secured.