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West Bromwich Albion
West Ham United
January 29, 2014
• 2:45 PM
• Stadium of Light, Sunderland
Referee: R. Madley
• Attendance: 34745
A. Johnson 17'
That's all from the Stadium of Light. I'm Alex Moretto, and I'd like to thank you all for joining me during tonight's action. Good bye!
FULL-TIME: SUNDERLAND 1-0 STOKE CITY. Adam Johnson's lone goal gives the Black Cats three points, seeing them jump ahead of both Fulham and West Ham, and out of the bottom three. The loss proves crucial for Stoke City, who drop to 16th, two points from safety, and a meager three from the bottom. Gus Poyet will have plenty of questions for his team, who were outplayed for a majority of the match, outside the opening 25 minutes, despite being a man up for the greater portion of the second half.
90' + 4'
There's no time for the corner as Madley signals full-time. The Stadium of Light erupts as Sunderland earn a massive three points.
90' + 4'
Colback has acres of space on the left and has a go at goal, but it's tipped just over and onto the top of the net by Begovic.
90' + 3'
Mannone comes out to the edge of the area to collect a cross. He drops the first, but recovers well under pressure and begins a break the other way.
90' + 2'
Guidetti sneaks in behind the defence and goes down looking for a penalty, but his appeals are rightfully turned aside.
Four minutes of added time, as Stoke desperately search for an equalizer...
Arnautovic now with some great footwork on the left side of the box, as he escapes O'Shea and crosses it in, and Wes Brown nearly puts his clearance attempt into his own net! What a disaster that would have been.
Stoke desperately trying to push forward, as a shifty Pieters tries to work his way into the box, but O'Shea shows his class in defence as he stands his ground, wins the tackle and clears the danger.
BROWN! The centre back does well to attack the corner, but his header is just inches high! That should have sealed it for Sunderland.
Sunderland finally push forward and create a chance of their own. Borini running at the defence, and has a go, but his shot is blocked by Wilson and is out for a corner.
Excellent strength shown by Odemwingie to post up and keep possession in the box. It's eventually cleared, but only as far as Cameron, whose cross in from the right is met by Shawcross who heads off the top of the bar! So close there from the visitors!
Borini breaks for Sunderland, and he picks out Ki who gives it away far too cheaply. The crowd grows restless as they watch their team struggle with the man advantage.
Yellow Card Fabio Borini
Nervous moments for Sunderland as 10-men Stoke are all over them. Borini drags down Cameron resulting in a yellow card, then the long ball into the box is scrambled clear.
After a long discussion of who will take it, Adam tries to drive it under the wall. It's blocked, but falls back out for Adam whose second effort is collected by Mannone.
Walters this time slips Cameron in just outside the box, and he's brought down by Colback. Free kick in a dangerous area for Stoke at the top right of the box.
Incredible move from Stoke on attack and it nearly results in an equalizer! Whelan's long ball picks out Cameron on the right, whose one touch pass finds Odemwingie at the top of the box. The Nigerian nutmegs Brown, and gets in behind the defence, but opts for placement over power and it's stopped and held by Mannone. Glorious chance there for Stoke!
Arnautovic comes on now for Stoke, in place of Assaidi, who has been one of the sharper members of the Potters' attack tonight.
LARSSON! The Swede runs excellently at the Stoke defence, and just as he approaches the box he takes a wonderful shot towards the bottom left corner that prompts a great save from Begovic, and it's out behind for a corner.
STAT ATTACK: Sunderland haven't won at the Stadium of Light since November 10 when they shocked Manchester City with a 1-0 victory.
Shortly after Stoke bring on Walters for Crouch, Sunderland make a change of their own up top at Jozy Altidore comes off for Steven Fletcher.
Odemwingie does well to win possession from Ki in the attacking half, but Stoke, lacking in numbers, can't find a way behind the Sunderland defence.
Stoke's opportunity to break is sniffed out by some great back-tracking from Colback and Borini. Sunderland win back possession and Colback from the middle of the pitch tries a through ball for Alonso down the left, but there's just too much pace on it as it rolls behind for a goal kick.
Glorious chance for Alonso! He made a great run into space down the left, and had plenty of time and space to get a shot off as he entered the box, but rather shockingly tried to pass it off. His pass is defended easily by Stoke who regain possession.
Borini evades Wilson at the top of the box, and lays it off for Johnson who's streaking into the box from the right hand side. The Englishman has Borini and Altidore in the centre, but goes for goal, with his left-footed effort missing safely wide at the far post.
The crowd has been brought back to life, sensing what a great opportunity this is for the home side to pick up three points, after they were looking increasingly likely to give up their lead.
ALTIDORE! A scramble at the edge of the box falls perfectly for Altidore, who has a partial break, but his shot is turned aside by Begovic! Great opportunity there for Sunderland to double their lead.
Larsson takes the ensuing free kick from just outside the box, but smacks it straight at the wall.
Yellow/Red Steven N'Zonzi
RED CARD! Like I mentioned at the start of the match, there's so often a sending off when these two teams meet. Mannone's long throw is misplayed by the Stoke defence and Altidore gets in behind, but is toppled over by the faintest of pushes from N'Zonzi. He's shown his second yellow and Stoke are down to 10-men!
Possession given away in the attacking half yet again by Sunderland, and Stoke push forward in numbers. The ball is played into the feet of Charlie Adam who tries a left-footed shot from the top of the box that Mannone collects with a bit of difficulty. There wasn't much power, but the height of the shot posed some problems for Mannone.
Yellow Card Marc Wilson
Lively start to the half from Mark Hughes' side. This time Assaidi passes off for Pieters who's thundering effort is blocked well by Ki. Sunderland break the other way and Altidore is dragged down by Wilson, winning a free kick at the half-line.
Sunderland get us underway in the second half, but the first chance falls to the visitors, as a cross is carried by the wind over the head of Mannone, straight into the feet of Alonso who has to react quickly and kick it behind for a corner.
One substitution at half-time for Sunderland, as Ondrej Celustka comes on in place of Phil Bardsley. It's not a tactical change for Gus Poyet, who has been forced to replace Bardsley who has succumb to a back injury.
34,745 in attendance tonight at the Stadium of Light.
STAT ATTACK: Adam Johnson has now been in on each of Sunderland’s last seven league goals, either scoring or providing an assist.
HALF-TIME SUNDERLAND 1-1 STOKE CITY. The hosts were dominant in the opening 25 minutes, but failed to create many scoring chances with the bulk of their possession. Adam Johnson's goal gave them the lead, that has stuck till half thanks to some smart stops from Vito Mannone. Mark Hughes will have to be encouraged by what he saw from Stoke in the latter stages of the half, but still find themselves behind at the break, although not for a lack of chances.
45' + 1'
That's the last of the action in the first half as Robert Madley blows his whistle to signal the start of the break.
45' + 1'
Pieters makes a lovely run down the left, beating defenders as he breaks into the box. He gets into a good position, but opts to pass it off for Crouch instead of having a shot, but the strikers feeble efforts skips wide and out for a goal kick.
Yellow Card Phil Bardsley
The game has fizzled out a bit here, as the half-time break approaches. Sunderland are trying to keep the ball like they did so well in the early stages of the half, but Stoke have a bit more life to them at the moment.
Another move forward here from Stoke, this time Assaidi crosses it in from the left, but Mannone does well to collect under pressure. The Italian has been on top of his game thus far today, and he's had to be.
Yellow Card Charlie Adam
Stoke keep possession well on the edge of the box, and it comes to Adam who's looking for a foul and goes down far too easily. Referee Robert Madley is in perfect position, and books Adam for simulation.
Incredible stop by Mannone! Altidore concedes a free kick just inside his own half on the left touch line. The ball is played forward for Crouch just outside the box, and his cross is played in for Shawcross who's wide open at the far post, but puts his header straight at Mannone! It was more of a right place, right time stop for the keeper, but it still required a smart reaction save to keep it out.
Odemwingie flicks the ball towards the back post off the corner, and Cameron rushes on but his header is over the bar.
Finally some concentrated pressure from Stoke. Cameron gets it in space on the right and provides a good ball in for Crouch, but the striker scuffs his shot and Alonso clears it out for a throw. The throw leads to another dangerous cross, as Bardsley is forced to clear behind for a corner.
Yellow Card Steven N'Zonzi
Altidore makes a nice run of his own and has a chance to make a pass, but N'Zonzi realizes the danger and tackles the American from behind. It's a clear yellow, but an important tackle from the midfielder who stopped what could have been a promising move for Sunderland.
Finally some encouraging play for Stoke. Assaidi streaks forward and has plenty of space down the left, with options in the middle to pick out a cross, but his eventual ball in is too strong and gets by everyone, out for a goal kick.
Good reactions from Vito Mannone. He goes out to collect the cross, but collides with John O'Shea and spills the ball to Peter Crouch. Mannone is able to stay with the striker, however, closing down the angle and collecting his weak effort from the touch-line.
Altidore hasn't seen a ton of the ball, but he's making his limited possession count. The American has given Shawcross plenty of problems, as he holds up the ball well and wins Sunderland a free kick.
The Potters' inability to win the ball can be attributed to their midfield. They're far too lethargic in the middle of the pitch, and are unable to pressure the Sunderland ball carriers, giving them far too much time and space to find a pass. They really need to pick up the pace or they could find themselves in quite a hole going into the half-time break.
Sunderland concede a throw in the attacking half, allowing Stoke to see the ball, but a foul throw gives it right back! The camera flashes to Mark Hughes who has a look of disgust on his face, and rightfully so.
Stoke do manage to get the ball for a brief moment and Charlie Adam charges forward. He rather ambitiously goes for goal and it turns out to be an impressive effort that goes just wide of the far post.
Sunderland continue to keep possession. Stoke can hardly get a touch of the ball. Ki is fouled by Odemwingie in his own half and they have another chance to push forward here.
The play of the home side has lifted the crowd into full gear! Plenty of cheering going on at the Stadium of Light thanks to their team's splendid form of late.
Goal Adam Johnson
GOAAAAAL! Adam Johnson from the tightest of angles gives Sunderland the lead! The original shot from outside the box is spilled by Begovic, and the Englishman is there to pounce on the mistake. Massive goal for Sunderland.
Bardsley comes close with a half-volley! The full-back has been spectacular of late for Sunderland, and he's at it yet again today. Borini plays the ball across the box, it's too high for Altidore but it falls for Bardsley who has a go from a tough angle and misses the far corner by a few feet. There was plenty of power on that.
Ludicrous stuff from Bardsley, who may be brimming with confidence after his injury time goal against Manchester United last week. The defender gets the ball outside the box, with his back turned to goal, and he goes for the spectacular trying to bicycle kick the ball into the net but it goes a mile high and earns a sarcastic cheer from the crowd.
The home side are back in possession, and Larsson feeds Johnson who looks to run with it in the box. He tries to beat Pieters, but some good defending from the Dutchman forces him to turn and regroup.
Stoke finally move forward with the ball after N'Zonzi wins it in the midfield. He lays it off for Assaidi who charges at Cameron. His ball into the box is defended by Ki who heads it straight towards his own goal, but Mannone is able to catch it. Disaster averted for Sunderland.
Sunderland win it right back and Borini bursts forward with excellent pace, charging at defenders. He lays it off on the right for Larsson, who decides to have a shot instead of giving it back to the Italian who was making a good run into space. The shot has some good pace on it, but it's turned aside easily by Begovic.
Altidore shows some determination as he keeps the ball after falling. He gets up and has options, but takes his eye off the ball and gives away possession far too cheaply.
It's quite chilly in the North East right now, but that hasn't stopped the home side from getting off to a great start as they've managed to keep possession for most of the opening three minutes. Johnson is the catalyst on the right, as he's seen plenty of the ball early on.
We're underway here at the Stadium of Light, with Sunderland wearing their red and white home shirts and Stoke in their black and green away kits.
We're about ready for kick-off here, and we could be in for a feisty affair! Three of the past four meetings between the two teams have seen someone sent off.
STAT ATTACK: Sunderland have gone 11 games unbeaten at home to Stoke (six wins, five draws), with the Potter's last win coming in April of 1994 in the League Championship at Roker Park.
Peter Odemwingie makes his Potters debut after arriving from Cardiff, getting the nod over Marko Arnautovic on the right. Ryan Shawcross will play the match in a protective cast after fracturing his wrist, while Matthew Etherington, Robert Huth and Andy Wilkinson remain out for Mark Hughes' side due to injury.
STOKE CITY SUBS: Arnautovic, Guidetti, Ireland, Muniesa, Palacios, Sorensen
STOKE CITY XI (4-2-3-1): Begovic; Cameron, Shawcross, Wilson, Pieters; N'Zonzi, Whelan; Odemwingie, Adam, Assaidi; Crouch
Some slight changes to the XI for Sunderland, but the biggest news centers around the return of young striker Connor Wickham who was recalled from his loan at Sheffield Wednesday earlier in the week, and is available for Gus Poyet today if he so chooses.
SUNDERLAND SUBS: Celustka, Fletcher, Gardner, Giaccherini, Ustari, Vergini, Wickham
SUNDERLAND XI (4-3-3): Mannone; Bardsley, O'Shea, Brown, Alonso; Larsson, Colback, Ki; Johnson, Altidore, Borini
The teams have been announced, so let us have ourselves a look at today's starting line-ups:
Life after Tony Pulis hasn't exactly gone as planned for the Potters as they find themselves in the middle of a tight relegation battle more than halfway through the season. Their putrid away form has been their undoing thus far, but a win today could go a long way in distancing themselves from the bottom three. A loss and it's time to panic in Stoke-on-Trent.
Sunderland have begun to get back on track in the past month, having lost just one of their last seven league fixtures. Their home form has been less than ideal, but Gus Poyet will be hoping his team can carry over some momentum from their Carling Cup semi-final victory over Manchester United a week ago. Despite taking eight points from their last five league matches, the Black Cats find themselves tied with Cardiff at the bottom of the table and in desperate need of a win.
Good afternoon Premiership fans around the world, and welcome to tonight's midweek clash between Sunderland and Stoke City at the Stadium of Light, with a massive three points on the line for both teams. I'm Alex Moretto and I'll be your in-game host, guiding you through the match LIVE as it happens!
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