Sunderland 2-0 Stoke City: Shawcross dismissal pivotal as Potters suffer defeat
Stoke had to play the majority of the second-half with 10-men following Ryan Shawcross' dismissal. (Image: Reuters)

Ryan Shawcross was controversially sent-off as Stoke City suffered a 2-0 defeat against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.

The Potters had held firm following Shawcross' dismissal two minutes into the second-half, but late goals from Patrick van Aanholt and Duncan Watmore condemned them to a first Premier League away defeat since 12 September. 

A half of limited chances

The afternoon had started on a positive note, with Philipp Wollscheid passing a late fitness test, which meant Mark Hughes could keep the same starting 11 which were unbeaten in their last three games.

It was the first time Stoke had gone four league matches unchanged since 2003 - a run that ended with a 3-1 win over Sunderland.

The blustery conditions, and the fact that there have only been 23 goals scored in games involving Stoke this season, left not many people expecting a goal fest so it was little surprise that both sides struggled to create many chances in the opening 45 minutes.

Sunderland came close to taking the lead in the 18th minute when Jermain Defoe tried his luck from the edge of the Stoke area, only to see his effort sail narrowly wide of Jack Butland's goal.

Defoe's afternoon was over early though when he limped off just after the half-hour mark to be replaced by Watmore.

Stoke's best chance of the match came just after when Jonathan Walters looked certain to score from Erik Pieter's cross. However, the Republic of Ireland international was denied by Costel Pantilmon's legs from close-range.

Shawcross was booked for a trip on Steven Fletcher in the 41st minute, before Pantilimon appeared to handle the ball outside of the area without punishment.

Charlie Adam then headed over from Bojan's corner to leave it goalless at half-time.

Late goals condemn 10-men Stoke

If Stoke were to win their first ever league game at the Stadium of Light, their task was made even greater when Shawcross was dismissed in the opening minutes of the second-half.

The Stoke captain was sent-off for two bookable offences; however the Potters will feel hard done by the decision to award Shawcross with a second yellow card. The Stoke centre-back appeared to get an obvious touch on the ball when battling with Sunderland substitute Watmore, but referee Mike Dean disagreed and showed Shawcross a second yellow.

Mark Hughes changed to a 4-4-1 formation and brought on Geoff Cameron, who replaced Bojan, to bolster the defence.

Stoke stayed resolute too, with Jack Butland coming to their rescue, like he has done on many occasions this season. The 'keeper saved with his legs to deny Yann M'Vila in the 55th minute, before tipping Sebastian Coates' header over the bar minutes later.

It looked as though Stoke would hang on but two goals in the final eight minutes condemned them to a first defeat in five games in all competitions.

Van Aanholt celebrates his goal.
Patrick van Aanholt celebrates his goal. (Image: Getty Images)

The Potters were first undone by a short free-kick, Adam Johnson rolling it sideways to van Aanholt, who drilled his low shot beyond Butland from 30 yards.

Watmore then doubled Sunderland's lead minutes later when the 21-year-old cut in from the right before firing low into the far corner to secure back-to-back league wins for the Black Cats.

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