O’Shea grabs unlikely point

Ten-man Sunderland drew 1-1 with Stoke City at the Stadium of

Light in the Premier League on Monday.

Jonathan Walters fired the visitors ahead after nine minutes

from a corner and Sunderland’s task was made all the more difficult

when Craig Gardner was sent off on 34 minutes for a late challenge

on Charlie Adam.

In the end Stoke’s numerical advantage did not matter as the

home side rescued an unlikely point thanks to a goal by defender

John O’Shea on 63 minutes.

The clash came a day after the 40th anniversary of Sunderland’s

famous FA Cup final win over Leeds United, and manager Paolo Di

Canio managed to get a champions’ type response in the second half

from the current crop of Sunderland players.

After Walters’ goal in the opening period Stoke managed to

restrict Sunderland to long-range attempts and, when Gardner saw

red, it looked like the home side could be on the end of another

hammering after last week’s 6-1 thrashing at Aston Villa.

But, somehow Sunderland responded and Adam Johnson’s near miss

ten minutes after the break set the ball rolling.

As Sunderland pressed on it did allow Stoke a rare attack and

Cameron Jerome went close after combining well with Adam.

Sunderland started to get some joy from set-pieces though and

O’Shea was unfortunate to see his attempt cleared off the line.

If that was a warning then the hammer blow was delivered minutes

later. Sebastian Larsson delivered the corner from the left, Ryan

Shawcross failed to react and O’Shea prodded home.

It was a fitting reward for the Irishman who defended

excellently especially when his side were reduced to ten men.

Remarkably Sunderland could have snatched an unlikely winner but

Danny Rose’s shot clipped the outside rather than the inside of the

post during the closing stages.

The result means Sunderland climb to 15th on 38 points, while

Stoke, who also moved a point closer to safety, reach the 41-point

mark in 11th in the Premier League table.


class='instorylink'>Di Canio was delighted with his team’s

second-half performance and felt that Sunderland fully deserved

to take a point.

“I saw the team I wanted to see with shape and character,” he

told Sky Sports. “There was only one side in the second half, but

we must stop the yellow and red cards.

“We had to keep the shape and use the wide areas better and move

Stoke around. Also, with our desire and at home we tried to stay in

the game and create chances and in the end the desire and effort

helped and the point will be crucial to us.”

Di Canio’s Stoke counterpart


class='instorylink'>Tony Pulis was equally satisfied to come

away a draw, saying: “It was a hard-earned point and we knew it was

going to be.

“When the sending off happened, we had a couple of players

booked and coming in at half-time, they were a bit nervous as

anything could have seen them leave the pitch.

“I’ve got to give Sunderland a lot of credit, they showed a lot

of spirit and togetherness, so I’m pleased we got the point.”