Stoke draw against 10-man Sunderland
Stadium of Light
Stoke were made to settle for a point at the Stadium of Light despite playing against a Sunderland team down to ten men for almost an hour.
The Potters took an early lead through Jonathan Walters but Paolo Di Canio`s side put up a second half fight back through captain John O`Shea after Craig Gardner had earlier been sent off.
Tony Pulis made two changes to the side that beat Norwich last week, bringing back Marc Wilson and Dean Whitehead for the injured Andy Wilkinson and Glenn Whelan.
It was Stoke who got off to a positive start with Charlie Adam trying to orchestrate openings out on the left wing, and it was the Scotsman who laid on the opener after 9 minutes.
A corner from the right was whipped in by the midfielder and after Walters` first effort was cleared off the line by Danny Graham, the striker crashed home the rebound off the underside of the crossbar.
Tony Pulis`s side continued to dominate without troubling Sunderland 'keeper Simon Mignolet and Sunderland`s supporters were growing increasingly frustrated at the lack of movement against a solid Stoke defence.
Adam Johnson, James McClean and Gardner resorted to long-range efforts which went harmlessly wide while Charlie Adam and Cameron Jerome looked lively as Stoke looked to catch the Black Cats on the break.
Sunderland`s frustrations boiled over for the second game in a row on 34 minutes. After Stephane Sessegnon was dismissed last week against Aston Villa, it was Gardner who received his marching orders this time for a late horror challenge on Adam, in front of an infuriated Pulis.
Instead of taking the game to Sunderland, Stoke seemed content to soak up any pressure which was about to come from a riled home side and midfield paring Dean Whitehead and Steven Nzonzi both picked up avoidable cautions, leaving them on the edge.
Alfred N`Diaye and Danny Rose both had opportunities for Sunderland before Johnson`s free-kick whistled just wide of Begovic`s right-hand post as Di Canio`s side went into the interval very much in the ascendancy.
Stoke were forced to reshuffle their back line at half-time when Wilson was replaced by Geoff Cameron meaning Ryan Shotton moved to left back to accommodate the American on the opposite side.
Sebastian Larsson and Johnson both had efforts comfortably dealt with Begovic, before Dean Whitehead cleared off his own line from O`Shea`s close range shot.
The game started to open up and Cameron Jerome and Nzonzi had chances to put the game out of the reach of the home side. Jerome fired straight as a pack of Sunderland bodies on the line before Nzonzi saw his curling effort clutched out of the air by Mignolet.
From an innocuous corner midway through the second period Sunderland drew level. Larsson`s delivery was flicked on by Whitehead which took the ball away from Ryan Shawcross, allowing O`Shea to pounce from 4-yards.
Whitehead almost atoned for his unfortunate error with a daisy cutter that Mignolet gathered at the second attempt before Adam saw two long range efforts go harmlessly wide.
Both sides had good opportunities to claim the three points in the final ten minutes. Rose clipped the bottom of Begovic`s right-hand post with a 20-yard shot before Nzonzi`s lofted overhead kick went just over.