Sunderland draws 1-1 with Stoke in Premier League

?John O’Shea’s second-half equalizer gave 10-man Sunderland a
1-1 draw against Stoke on Monday and a valuable point in the team’s
fight against relegation from the Premier League.

Stoke seemed to be headed for a win after Jonathan Walters
scored for the visitors in the ninth minute Sunderland’s Craig
Gardner was sent off in the 34th for a dangerous challenge on
Charlie Adam.

But O’Shea was able to prod home Sebastian Larsson’s corner in
the 63rd to leave Paolo di Canio’s team in 15th place, ahead of
both Norwich and Newcastle on goal difference. It is three points
ahead of 18th-place Wigan but with a game more played.

”I’m very pleased because this point in my opinion will prove
crucial at the end of the season,” Di Canio said. ”In the second
half, the last 15 minutes of the first half, I saw the team I want
to see, playing football with enthusiasm and character.”

Danny Rose almost stole victory for the hosts 10 minutes from
time but his low shot hit the outside of the near post.

Walters slammed home the opening goal via the underside of the
crossbar from close range after his initial header from a corner
was blocked by Danny Graham on the line.

Sunderland’s task then became even harder when Gardner went in
studs first against Adam as he raced down the right flank, and
referee Lee Mason showed a straight red card.

But Sunderland continued to show initiative and was rewarded
when Stoke failed to clear Larsson’s corner and the ball dropped to
O’Shea at the far post, and the defender was able to stick his leg
out to sidefoot it into the net.