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.