Sunderland 1 Stoke City 0 match report: Adam Johnson revival lifts Sunderland out of relegation zone

Steven Nzonzi was dismissed for the Potters at the Stadium of Light

stadium of light

As the final whistle approached, with Sunderland about to pop their head out of the bottom three of the Premier League for the first time since August, the level of panic in the stadium was almost unbearable.

Sunderland’s extra man, following the sending off of Stoke’s Steven N’Zonzi, like the fact they were the home side, had long since been forgotten.

The Stoke captain Ryan Shawcross cracked a header off Vito Mannone’s crossbar and the Sunderland defender Wes Brown almost sliced into his own goal. Each moment drew new gasps.

There are 15 more of these potential nailbiters still to come. And a Capital One Cup final. And a derby on Saturday against fierce rivals Newcastle United, not to mention the fifth round of the FA Cup. Somehow Gus Poyet has made Sunderland’s season enthralling.

Perhaps it has been the realisation that the World Cup looks likely to pass him by, but Adam Johnson’s resurgence has also been dramatic. He had been involved in Sunderland’s last six goals (either as creator or scorer) before his clever finish here after 17  minutes took that tally to seven.

Fabio Borini’s shot was only parried by Asmir Begovic to his left and in that failure came opportunity. Johnson chased the clearance and with the most deft of touches with his left foot, nudged the ball out of the reach of the Stoke goalkeeper.

Now, from a tight angle, he had to steer the ball past Begovic and, again, he did that with precision. It was Johnson’s sixth goal in his last six games, his eighth for the season. They are statistics most English wingers would be fairly pleased with.

Steven N'Zoni of Stoke City is sent off by referee Robert Madley Steven N'Zoni of Stoke City is sent off by referee Robert Madley It was certainly a subtlety of play that Mark Hughes’ side could have done with in front of goal in the opening half.

Shawcross, the usually dependable Stoke captain, was most culpable. In the 39th minute Charlie Adam, who was booked for simulation a minute later, produced a fine, left-footed cross deep into the heart of the Sunderland penalty area. Shawcross looked nailed on to score, but his effort was too near to the Sunderland keeper Mannone, who saved well, to the frustration of Hughes.

There had been more opportunities to cancel out Johnson’s strike. Adam had shot narrowly wide, and in the 32nd minute Peter Crouch had almost capitalised when a Geoff Cameron cross bisected Mannone and John O’Shea. Crouch’s initial attempted finish was clever and it drew an excellent save from the Italian. The rebound was more comfortably collected.

Stoke’s evening took a major turn for the worse in the 53rd minute when N’Zonzi, who had already been booked for a foul in the first half, ended up on the wrong side of Jozy Altidore, with the striker heading for goal, outside the visitors’ penalty area.

Given the American’s lousy form in English football, the midfielder would have been advised to let the Sunderland man go, but in his efforts to get near the striker, Altidore fell under the smallest (if any) contact. The referee produced a second yellow and N’Zonzi became the third Stoke player to be sent off in the North-east this season.

Altidore, with just a solitary Premier League goal to his name since his £6m move to the Stadium of Light in the summer, had the chance to secure victory moments later after being played through by Borini. However, Begovic saved his close-range shot.

 

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
The first film introduced Daniel Radcliffe to our screens, pictured here as he prepares to board the train to Hogwarts for the first time.
booksHow reading Harry Potter helps children grow up to be gay-friendly
Sport
Frank Lampard will pass Billy Wright and equal Bobby Charton’s caps tally of 106 caps against
sportFormer Chelsea midfielder in Etihad stopgap before New York contract
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Aladdin is performed at the Tony Awards in New York in June
theatreBrit producer Lythgoe makes kids' musical comedy a Los Angeles hit
Sport
Usain Bolt of Jamaica smiles and shakes hands with a competitor after Jamaica won their first heat in the men's 4x100m relay
sport
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Chancellor George Osborne, along with the Prime Minister, have been 'complacently claiming the economy is now fixed', according to shadow Chancellor Ed Balls
i100... which is awkward, because he is their boss, after all
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux play teeneage lovers in the French erotic drama 'Blue Is The Warmest Colour' - The survey found four times as many women admitting to same-sex experiences than 20 years ago
filmBlue Is The Warmest Colour, Bojack Horseman and Hobbit on the way
News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleBenidorm actor was just 68
Arts and Entertainment
Preparations begin for Edinburgh Festival 2014
Edinburgh festivalAll the best shows to see at Edinburgh this year
Caption competition
Caption competition
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

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices