Sunderland Vs Stoke City
Sunderland have begun to banish the horrors of last week with a convincing 2-0 victory over Stoke City at the Stadium of Light today.
Record signing Asamoah Gyan managed to grab two goals in his first full Premier League start while Steed Malbranque missed a first half penalty.
Stoke didn`t have it their way either, Ryan Shawcross was shown a red after two bookable offences while Lee Cattermole looked to have handled a Kenwyne Jones header off the goal line.
It was a game that could have gone either way, Stoke looking to end a three game losing streak while Sunderland, understandably, wanting to banish the memories of their 5-1 defeat to rivals Newcastle.
But it was Stoke that got out the blocks quicker, dominating the opening five minutes with pressure and slicker passing.
But all that latest right until the ninth minute when Gyan slotted an effort into an empty net after Nedum Onuoha has his chance blocked by Asmir Begovic.
The goal lifted the fans and team but it could of went to waste, former Wearside hero Jones Surging towards the Sunderland goal, he coolly collected Matthew Etherington's through ball but his close-range shot was kicked to safety by the outstretched boot of keeper Simon Mignolet.
Sunderland then had a chance to double their lead with a penalty, when Gyan was fouled by Jon Walters.
Frenchman Malbranque took on the responsibility but his effort was easily read by Begovic, who palmed the ball to safety.
But he almost amends right on the stroke of half-time with a powerful volley from the edge of the box but the effort flew wide and without the comfort of a two-goal cushion.
In the second half it was Stoke again that made the quicker start, Tuncay almost grabbing an equaliser after a goalmouth scrap.
But the game suffered a controversial moment when Jones had another header blocked, this time from the arm of Cattermole, which outraged the Stoke players, who swarmed around the linesman in protest but referee Martin Atkinson only awarded a corner after consulting his assistant.
The away side continued, but frustration began to show with four players being shown a yellow card, including Shawcross after he lunged into Danny Welbeck, much to Steve Bruce`s frustration.
The centre half was given his marching orders minutes later when he brought down Welbeck again, this time 25-yards from goal.
Five minutes from time Sunderland attacked again this time Gyan flicking a neat lob to substitute Kieran Richardson who sprinted down the left hand side and crossed which was deflected and found its way to the £13 million pound Ghanaian who superbly drilled his shot into the bottom left corner to seal all three points for Steve Bruce`s side.
After the result Bruce admitted that he knew it would be a tough test after last weekend`s heavy defeat.
He told SAFC.com, 'It wasn't going to be easy. There was an edginess in the crowd and to the players.
'One thing you want is a response and thankfully we've got it. It's never easy against Stoke, but I thought we played some excellent stuff at times in the first half.
'The first goal was a great goal, and we could have gone 2-0 up which would have made it a different game,' Bruce continued.
'We needed a bit of luck in the finish, but in the end it's all about the result for me and the clean sheet is the most important thing for me.
'To be fair they defended with their lives. We got a bit of luck which we needed. I think their smallest player is bigger than our biggest one!
'We stuck at it and in that respect deserved the victory.'