Stoke City 2 Sunderland 0 match report: Gus Poyet demands apology as Wes Brown’s red leaves team bottom of pile

 

Britannia Stadium

The front page of the Oatcake fanzine on sale outside the stadium offered a wry reference to the controversial injury-time penalty that had spared Mark Hughes’s men defeat at Swansea a fortnight ago: “Potters finally benefit from a dodgy decision.”

Perhaps they will want to reassess their relationship with Lady Luck after the controversial dismissal of Sunderland defender Wes Brown proved a decisive moment in Stoke’s first Premier League win since 31 August.

Stoke may have been leading through Charlie Adam’s 30th-minute strike, but the visitors were very much in the game when Brown became the third Sunderland player in three games to see red, after a 50-50 challenge on Adam in which the defender appeared to win the ball cleanly. A late goal from Steven Nzonzi eventually killed off the 10 men from Wearside but Gus Poyet, the visiting manager, had no doubt about the game’s key incident.

The furious Sunderland manager walked into the press room with a laptop and said: “I’ve got the computer, if you want we can watch it. The linesman didn’t put the flag up, the fourth official said he didn’t say a word, the referee took three or four seconds to give a foul that was not even  a foul.”

Citing the apology that Mike Riley, head of the refereeing body, gave to Steve Clarke this week after a highly disputed Chelsea penalty against his West Bromwich team, Poyet went as far as to demand a call from Riley. “I would like the referees’ association to apologise to me this time, they did it last week. If they called a British manager, now it’s time to call a foreign manager and we make it 1-1 [and for] the referees to say no red card and I don’t need to appeal.”

Brown’s return after 21 months out injured has coincided with Poyet’s arrival and Sunderland’s recent upturn and it was hard to see why he warranted a red card: he certainly flew into the tackle but his studs were not raised, even if Hughes saw it differently.

The Stoke manager argued that Brown had “caught [Adam] on the outside of the leg” and added: “Maybe Wes was a little bit out of control, a little bit reckless. At the time I thought it was a poor challenge. Whether or not it merited a sending-off, that is the debate after the game, which is a shame as it takes the shine off our performance.”

It was not the only talking point involving the referee, Kevin Friend, who later spared home goalkeeper Asmir Begovic a booking when he raised a high foot to beat Steven Fletcher to the ball and caught the Sunderland striker in the chest on the follow-through.

For Hughes, this was his 100th Premier League win as a manager and owed plenty to midfielder Nzonzi, who carried out his manager’s instructions to “get higher up the park”. It was his burst down the right, turn and cross that led to Adam’s goal, a precise first-time finish with his left foot into the far corner.

That put paid to Sunderland’s bright start that had almost brought a goal when Fletcher sprang the offside trap but could not beat Begovic. Robert Huth almost put the ball into his own net soon after but for Ryan Shawcross to scramble it clear.

Sunderland played the last 39 minutes of their previous away fixture, the 1-0 loss at Hull, with nine men after the dismissals of Lee Cattermole and Andrea Dossena. With Brown off, Poyet withdrew winger Emanuele Giaccherini for defender Valentin Roberge yet the second half was a low-key affair, Stoke settling it with nine minutes left when Peter Crouch’s pass dissected the defence and Nzonzi finished past Vito Mannone. Marko Arnautovic should have added a third but for Sunderland the damage was done as they headed home, bottom of the table and nursing a very big grievance.

Stoke (4-2-3-1): Begovic; Cameron, Shawcross, Huth (Wilkinson, 77), Pieters; Whelan, Nzonzi; Walters Adam (Palacios, 82), Arnautovic; Crouch.

Sunderland (4-2-3-1): Mannone; Celustka (Borini 69), O’Shea, Brown, Bardsley; Ki; Johnson, Larsson, Colback, Giaccherini (Roberge, 40); Fletcher (Altidore, 85).

Referee: Kevin Friend.

Man of the match: Nzonzi (Stoke)

Match rating: 6/10

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions