Goals from Larsson, Bramble, Gardner and Bendtner ease pressure on Wearside as the Black Cats coast to victory over lackluster Potters at the Stadium of Light.
SUNDERLAND- Sunderland registered its first win of the season as the club beat Stoke City 4-0 at the Stadium of Light thanks to goals from Titus Bramble, Nicklas Bendtner, Craig Gardner and Sebastian Larsson.
The Black Cats started the game the livelier of the sides and went ahead in the fifth minute though Bramble after the visiting side had failed to clear its lines from a Sebastian Larsson corner.
Steve Bruce’s team had the early momentum and could have doubled the lead if not Ryan Shawcross whose last ditch tackle prevented Craig Gardner from shooting at goal when it appeared he was clean through.
This respite for Stoke lasted only minutes as Sunderland got its second goal when Bendtner latched onto Larsson’s pinpoint cross and looped his header over Asmir Begovic into the net.
The Potters began to find their feet as the game settled down as they troubled the Black Cats defense with long balls into box and through Rory Delap’s throw-ins which slightly unnerved keeper Simon Mignolet.
Just when it looked as though Tony Pulis’s side had quelled Sunderland’s goal-scoring momentum a good move by the Black Cats resulted in a third goal. This time Gardner found the net as his deflected shot looped over Begovic to send the Stadium of Light into raptures.
Stoke tried to force its way back into the game towards the end of the half but wasted good opportunities from set-pieces as the Sunderland defense became accustomed to the robust style of play with Wes Brown being in particularly dominating against Peter Crouch.
Both sides had late chances in the half to add to the scoring with Cameron Jerome coming the closest as he missed his header from six yards as he failed to connect properly with Jon Walters’ cross and his follow up volley was well blocked by Bramble.
David Vaughan also tested the hands of Begovic before the half ended but the former Portsmouth man was equal to it.
The second half started well for the visiting side as it put some early pressure on the Black Cats defense but was unable to find a way through with Peter Crouch coming close as he beat John O’Shea at the back-post but was unable to glance his header goal-ward.
Sunderland then began to take control of possession in the midfield with some slick passing moves and got its fourth goal from a Larsson free kick which curled into the bottom corner of Begovic’s net following a foul on Sessegnon on the edge of the area.
Peter Crouch summed up a miserable afternoon for his team when he chested the ball down away from the attentions of Brown for once but the England man scuffed his shot straight into the arms of Mignolet.
Sunderland tried to end in style as Bendtner came close to adding a fifth for the host side but couldn’t beat Begovic as the Black Cats recorded their first win of the season in style as the Potters suffered a hangover from their exploits in the Europa League.