Full-time: Sunderland 1-1 Stoke
That's your lot! Stoke will regard this one that got away and Sunderland will be more satisfied than a draw given that they had to fight back with 10 men after Craig Gardner's red card. Stoke didn't make the most of their advantage, as they are incapable of attacking with any thought. They'll take a point which moves them six points clear of Wigan though. As for Sunderland, they're up to 16th, above Norwich and Newcastle because of their superior goal difference, which effectively means they are four points instead of three above Wigan. Newcastle will be in the bottom three if Wigan beat Swansea tomorrow. That won't be the end of it, though. Thanks for reading. Bye.
90 min+3: Adam Johnson, who's had a good game, is replaced by Phil Bardsley.
90 min+2: Kenwyne Jones on, Peter Crouch off.
90 min: Peter Crouch has done very little tonight. There will be four minutes of added time.
89 min: Vaughan gets away from Nzonzi and drags one wide from 25 yards.
88 min: Off the top of my head, Stoke have created one chance from open play since Sunderland went down to 10 men. They are shameless.
87 min: McClean finds a bit of space on the left of the area but not for long and his shot is charged down.
86 min: David Vaughan replaces Sebastian Larsson.
85 min: Etherington's first contribution is to curl in a corner from the right, which is cleared. He soon wins another though. The Stadium of Light has gone very quiet. They fear the worst. And their fears are almost proven correct. Etherington takes it again, sending the ball towards the cluster of bodies in the six-yard box. Under severe pressure Mignolet can't gather and eventually Nzonzi hooks the ball over the bar from six yards out. That was a very decent chance.
83 min: Stoke bring on Matthew Etherington for Charlie Adam.
81 min: Given the context, Sunderland have bossed this for the last 20 minutes or so. Here's another attack. The ball is sent in from the right and everyone misses it in the middle, allowing it to fall to McClean. If he had reacted quickly enough he could have scored but he wasn't alive to it and the ball ran away from him.
80 min: Danny Rose hits the post! The chance came after neat work from Danny Graham, who held the ball up well on the left, waited for support and then let Rose take control. He surged inside and then slapped a low right-footed shot from the edge of the area through a defender's legs, towards the near post. It took Begovic by surprise and it didn't look like he was going to get down to it but the ball pinged away off the outside of the right post. Brilliant effort.
79 min: Adam's swerving drive from 20 yards out swerves and swerves and swerves until it's swerved wide.
78 min: Adam pings a flat cross into the area and it goes behind for a corner on the right off O'Shea. It's the likeliest route to goal, but Adam's corner is punched away by Mignolet.
76 min: Tony Pulis is getting more irate with Lee Mason, who's not giving Stoke too many decisions. Now he wants a penalty after Jerome fell under a challenge from Cuellar but there didn't look to be too much in it. If Pulis wants to blame anyone for the current situation, he might want to locate the grown man who goes to work wearing a baseball cap.
75 min: A Stoke special. They win a throw-in deep on the left flank, which offers Shotton a chance to remind us of his existence. He chucks it in and although it's headed away, Whitehead returns the ball with interest from the edge of the area. His fierce volley is pushed out by Mignolet, who plunges on the rebound. Moments later, Adam tries to score from the halfway line. No.
73 min: Johnson wafts a free-kick out of play from the right. "He may be more charismatic than, er, Danny Ocean but Di Canio will struggle to make a sow's ear out of this Sunderland squad let alone a silk purse," says Niall Mullen. Give him the Stoke squad next.
69 min: When you're playing against 10 men, it's usually best to tire them out with a careful possession-based game. That's not really Stoke's style.
67 min: Walters is still having his head bandaged while Di Canio is sharing a hug with the fourth official, Mike Jones. As you do.
66 min: Walters is caught by an elbow to the head from Rose as they challenge for an aerial ball, forcing Lee Mason to stop the play, much to Di Canio's chagrin. He's so annoyed he's on the pitch for a moment. Can any technical area hold this man?
GOAL! Sunderland 1-1 Stoke (O'Shea, 63 min)
On the touchline, Paolo Di Canio stares at the crowd, exhaling heavily, letting it all out. Out of nothing, Sunderland are level. Larsson whipped a corner into the near post and Whithead's inadvertent glance saw it fall to O'Shea at the far post. He reacted quicker than Shawcross and turned it in from close range. Stoke will be kicking themselves.
61 min: Nzonzi strides forward and lets fly from 25 yards out. Mignolet dives to his right and holds. "Getting back to the real story," says Mark Hallows. "Perhaps, for the good of the man, football media should pretend until the end of the summer transfer window that Maloney isn't all that he's cracked up to be. (Maybe shifting the focus to the up and coming Mike Pollitt) So as to avoid another player leaving for a painfully small amount to a club where their career inevitably capitulates."
60 min: A warning for Stoke not to get complacent. Rose won a corner on the left and when Cuellar headed it back across goal, O'Shea swivelled and his shot through the bodies had to be pushed away by Begovic.
59 min: Stoke are looking to capitalise on having the extra man. They make the most of the space Gardner's space has afforded them, a free-flowing releasing Adam on the left of the area. The obvious thing to do would be to simply smash the ball across goal but instead Adam cleverly disguises his intentions and pulls it back to Jerome, whose shot is blocked.
57 min: Suddenly space opens up for Shotton on the left but an appalling first touch allows Cuellar to get across and clear agriculturally - as in he booted it out for a throw, not that he dealt with the situation with the use of a tractor. "Carlos Vela, who couldn't get much football @ the Emirates, could be getting Champions League football next term," says Art Durbano. "His diving header on cinco minutes has put Real Sociedad a goal to the good @ Getafe. A win leaves the Basques cinco pts. clear of cinco-placed Valencia with tres to play." I thought Carlos Vela was destined for greatness after his League Cup heroics.
SUNDERLAND'S FIRST SHOT ON TARGET!
55 min: Johnson, the only Sunderland player who looks like doing anything worthy of note, dashes in from the right and unleashes a drive that screams straight down Begovic's throat. Not literally, mind you. That would be a story.
54 min: "I remember at the 1996 League Cup final shouting - SHOUTING! - at Savo Milosevic not to shoot from 30 yards, such a damned waste of possession," says Paul Flint. "It was a screamer of a goal. Since then I've never advised a Serbian centre forward of anything, nor will I."
53 min: Adam sends Walters haring away down the right flank. He's forced a bit wide and McClean comes steaming across, trying to take Walters out. He rides the challenge, which drew a flag from the linesman, and cuts the ball back to Adam, who fails to make any contact with his attempted sidefooter on the edge of the area.
51 min: The burning question: will Sunderland have a shot on target tonight?
49 min: The crowd's dander is down again.
48 min: Happily Sky are picking up Tony Pulis's bellowing on the touchline. "Norwich may have had a poor season, but have the 'Black Cats' been any better?" says Lou Roper. "And might it please be possible for the likeability of a club manager to weigh in and bring the Canaries over the line ahead of Sunderland?"
47 min: Sunderland have started this half well and the crowd's dander is up. McClean's cross from the right is deflected to Larsson on the edge of the area and a block takes his shot wide. But the corner comes to nothing.
46 min: Here we go then. Stoke have made a half-time change, bringing on Geoff Cameron for Marc Wilson. "Sunderland may struggle for goals without Fletcher and Sessegnon, but at least they aren't missing their other major absentee, Lee Cattermole," says Alan Paul, riffing on Craig Gardner.
"Émile Ntamack does NOT have an apostrophe in his surname - at least not on his own facebook page (I'm guessing he'd know.)," says Terry Land. "Let the Ntamack wars begin..."
Half-time: Sunderland 0-1 Stoke
Peep! Peep! Boo! Sunderland are in trouble. Stoke deserve the lead given to them by Jonathan Walters's early goal and Craig Gardner's red card means this is a game Tony Pulis's side should win.
45 min+4: Whitehead clips McClean around 25 yards out. It looks like Larsson will take it but instead Johnson hits it, sending a decent effort swerving past the right post.
45 min+3: "The French rugby international Emile N'tamack has an apostrophe," says Simon Frank. "And a SMALL T. How about that?" I don't know what to say.
45 min+1: Adam drifts a ball to the far post from the left and Jerome rises highest to shoulder it wide.
45 min: Three minutes of the added stuff. "So you don't actually work for the Garjun?" says Steve Waterhouse. "You're just a Wrest Ham fan who occassionally writes for them? Wait...are you really Russell Brand?" Don't tell anyone.
43 min: Stoke are trying to put this game to bed before half-time. Jerome scampers in around the back of the Sunderland defence on the right and cuts it back to Walters, whose shot is charged down. Sunderland try to break but N'Diaye is brought down by a soft challenge from Nzonzi/N'Zonzi, who's booked to keep the Sunderland fans quiet.
41 min: "A genuinely new sensation for me - that odd feeling of wanting Stoke to win," says Simon Everett. "What it is to be a Norwich supporter at the moment." Sunderland are the hope for Norwich, who will be very lucky indeed if they stay up. Apart from that run during the winter, they've not been good enough.
40 min: Southampton at home and Tottenham away. Sunderland's last two games. If Wigan win tomorrow night, they're in a diddly of a pickle. "A fine helping of 70s nostalgia from Gary Naylor," says Justin Kavanagh. "Well done that man! Watching it again, I can't help picturing Di Canio running from the dugout on the last day of the season (as Sunderland beat the drop) in Stokoesque red pants, cream-colored mac, and trilby hat. He's one of the few managers who could pull that kind of a tribute outfit off."
38 min: "It’s come to this – why do you and some of your Guardian comrades (Ian McCourt, for one) have “casual” as part of your email address, but others (Glendenning, for instance) do not?" says Tracy Mohr. Me and McCourt are freelancers, Glendenning is on staff.
37 min: Having had treatment following that whack on his ankle, Adam is back on.
36 min: Before play can be restarted, the stewards have to deal with an eedjit who had run on to the pitch to confront the Stoke players. To be fair, it's a brave man who confronts Robert Huth. They should have let him at him.
THE APPLAUSE TURNS TO JEERS! CRAIG GARDNER IS SENT OFF
34 min: Oh dear. Lee Mason doesn't need long to make up his mind and shows Craig Gardner the red card. No arguments here, that was a mindless tackle from Gardner and Sunderland are down to 10 men for the second successive match. It'll be a real uphill battle now.
33 min: As a round of applause ripples around the ground to mark the minute when Ian Porterfield scored against Leeds in 1973, suddenly the mood on the pitch turns ugly as Charlie Adam pokes the ball around Larsson and is then crunched by an awful challenge from Craig Gardner, who steamed into Adam's ankle with his studs. That's a dreadful tackle. Lee Mason has a decision to make here.
32 min: And to further enrage the Sunderland fans, Cuellar is booked for cynically bumping Jerome to the turf off the ball.
31 min: Jerome leaves a high foot in and catches Danny Rose. He's a bit lucky to escape with a warning. "Algeria were the victims of the 1982 teutonic stitch-up, not Morocco," corrects Richard Franks.
30 min: Yes, Ron Jeremy.
29 min: Some half-hearted Sunderland pressure but it's all in front of Stoke and around 40 yards away from their goal anyway. When they do get it wide, Gardner's cross is awful and Graham was the only player in the box. "HOWAY STOKE!!!" says Ron Jeremy. Yep.
28 min: It's interesting that Sunderland's fans are so programmed to expect misery that they were expecting McClean to mess that up though. They might want to reassess exactly what they're getting out of this if it's got this point.
26 min: You know that it's not going to end well when the crowd is groaning before you shoot. Which is genuinely what happened here. James McClean cut in from the right and on to his left foot. He decided he might as well have a shot and as he pulled his foot back, there was audible exasperation in the crowd. With good reason, too. McClean's effort was miserable. They're a good judge of football and strangely prescient, these Sunderland fans.
25 min: "Could you expand on the list of things you'd do for Shaun Maloney?" says Rob Edwards. "A lot of people say they'd do anything for someone and then a re-think. Meatloaf, for example." For starters, I'd definitely alphabetise his DVD collection.
24 min: "I trust your colleagues visit to the pub is for an editorial meeting away from the office and not an excuse to imbibe," says Mark Judd. "I suspect they have great willpower at Guardian Towers and will resist temptation, just as Danny Graham, an erstwhile striker, will resist the temptation to score thereby not blotting his non-goalscoring for Sunderland copy book." Indeed, I wonder at what point a blotchless record of absolutely no goals becomes a badge on honour. In that light, Ade Akinbiyi was a genius.
23 min: The crowd is getting restless. "I see Stoke more as postcyberpunk rather than the classics," says Simon McMahon. "Sunderland are tragicomedy."
22 min: As if to prove a point, Mignolet comes and catches a Stoke corner. Steven Nzonzi is feeling a knock, by the way. How do you decide whether there's an apostrophe in N'Zogbia or no Nzonzi? One to ponder, while Sunderland try to work out how to break Stoke down. Johnson tries to come up with the solution, twisting and turning past Whitehead, but he can't get the ball on to his left and settles for shooting over with his right from distance.
21 min: "Mignolet?" says Gary Naylor. "Is he a good goalkeeper because everybody says he's a good goalkeeper? If he's worth £15M, Shaun Maloney must be worth £45M." I think he's pretty good. Maybe a bit overrated. Unlike Shaun Maloney. I'd do anything for that man.
20 min: Sunderland haven't had a shot on target yet. Do not observe this space.
18 min: Adam exacts some revenge on Larsson, hanging out a leg on the right touchline. It's not Gardner but he'll have to do. Johnson's free-kick is dealt with easily enough. "There is a myth peddled by the media, in particular that beacon of knowledge 'Lawro', that Wigan only start playing when the clocks go forward...however if you look at our points per month totals we are consistently inconsistent with November and March being our highest totals, and last season aside that is how we have been every year since we got promoted," says Nick Roberts. Give over, they're the best side of all time when the clock strikes April.
16 min: Gardner and Adam give chase to a ball out to the left flank. As it runs out of play, Gardner leans into Adam, sending him skidding off the wet pitch and over the hoardings. Oof. He's a bit sore, even sorer that there's no free-kick, but fine to continue. "Di Canio's got a tie on now," reports Paul Ruffley.
15 min: "PORTERFIELD!" trills Gary Naylor. Enjoy.
13 min: Gardner sends the ball swerving off the outside of his right foot, round the wall and well past the post. Begovic wasn't interested. "Whenever I tune in for MBM you always appear to be on and I worry about the distribution of labour," worries Gareth Hammond. "Are the rest of the team chasing up the Mourinho in Ikea story? I fancy Stoke tonight by the way." They're all down the pub. Only the best ones can go.
12 min: Johnson surges brilliantly away from Whitehead on the halfway line and tries to run at the Stoke defence. Only one thing for it, the cynical foul, and Whitehead obliges, pulling him back around 30 yards from goal. He's booked.
11 min: Sunderland look to hit back immediately. James McClean rolls away from his marker on the right and hits a left-footed shot that takes a deflection, forcing Begovic to help it awkwardly over the bar. Johnson curls the corner to the near post. It's headed away.
10 min: This stat bears worth repeating: Sunderland's players have scored seven goals from open play between them.
GOAL! Sunderland 0-1 Stoke (Walters, 9 min)
As simple a goal as you could wish to see. From the right, Charlie Adam sends in what was, to be fair, more or less an undefendable corner, full of pace and curl, and bent invitingly into the six-yard box. With Mignolet rooted to his line, it was begging to be headed in. Walters escaped his marker and sent his header against the body of the unwitting Graham on the line, and when the rebound fell to him, he made no mistake the second time, smashing it in off the underside of the bar.
8 min: Shotton decides to have a run down the right, eventually winning a throw off Rose. A chance for Rory Shotton to launch one into the area, then. In it goes, towards Huth, and Bramble inadvertently concedes a corner. From which...
6 min: Graham wriggles clear on the right of the area and turns the ball back across the six-yard box. Shawcross boots it behind. Well he wouldn't tap it, would he. The corner is only half-cleared as far as Larsson, but he blasts a first-time shot into orbit from the edge of the area.
4 min: A moment of indecision in the Sunderland defence leads to a bit of consternation in the stands. Adam hoicked a hopeful ball into the box from the left which O'Shea decided to leave. Presumably he got a shout from Rose but Walters came rushing in, trying to make something of the situation. The bounce beat him though and Rose cleverly shepherded the ball away. They knew what they were doing.
3 min: Ryan Shotton is a Premier League footballer. Beats me.
2 min: Begovic boots a clearance straight out of play. Promising. "So; nil-nil?" says Art Durbano, owner of the greatest name of all time. "Or one-one? West Germany-Austria, with plucky little Latics dragged on-stage to play Morocco? You'd think so. I, however, would like to think there's a God, and that somehow, Stoke AND Sunderland could be demoted this term. Or better yet, a mass wail I can hear here, outside Philadelphia, goes up from YourNameHere Stadium on Tyneside as Newcastle bottle their way into Le Championship." Set-pieces are going to be important.
Peep! A Stoke huddle - or is it a scrum? - and a Sunderland huddle and we're off. Sunderland, in their red and white stripes and kicking from left to right, get us underway. Stoke are in their blue and red striped away kit.
It's the 40th anniversary of Sunderland's win in the FA Cup final over Leeds United. The players from that brilliant afternoon have been on the pitch to accept the acclaim of the crowd and well they might. Sunderland haven't won anything since. Pesky Norwich, beating them in the League Cup final in 1985. Anyway, more important things to think about now and here come the Sunderland players of today, joined by those of Stoke.
The players in Sunderland's starting line-up have scored seven goals from open play this season.Conclusion: this could be grim. Where are the goals coming from tonight? "I’m in the library revising for an exam tomorrow (Comparative Politics of the Middle East, since you didn’t ask)," says Nick Wilkinson. "It occurred to me that Stoke might be the footballing equivalent of the classics. A more heralded past, but pretty much stuck there having not advanced significantly for.. ooh.. about 100 years or so. Arsenal (my team bytheway) might be the equivalent of political study. Fine in theory, but all a bit overly tricksy. Incidentally, I hope that Guardian office dress code ensures you are wearing a tie (sober, M&S type, definitely not with a cartoon character on it)."
It's bank holiday - skins.
PAOLO DI CANIO IS NOT WEARING A TIE
No tie. Top button undone.
Here are the teams. It's a big night for Adam Johnson, playing as the No10 in the absence of Sessegnon. About time he pulled his finger out.
Sunderland, without Fletcher and Sessegnon: Mignolet, Colback, Cuellar, O'Shea, Rose, Larsson, Gardner, N'Diaye, McClean, Johnson, Graham. Subs: Westwood, Bardsley, Kilgallon, Vaughan, Mangane, Marrs, Mandron.
Stoke, with some tall people: Begovic, Wilson, Shawcross, Huth, Shotton, Nzonzi, Adam, Whitehead, Walters, Crouch, Jerome. Subs: Sorensen, Cameron, Palacios, Jones, Owen, Kightly, Etherington.
Referee: Lee Mason (Lancashire)
Evening. Have you had enough excitement for one day? No? Excellent, because what we've got here is live coverage of Sunderland v Stoke! Wait! Come back!
Ok, so on the surface it's not the most appealing of fixtures. Sunderland and Stoke. Three years ago they were responsible for one of the most reprehensible 0-0 draws of all time, also on a Monday night. But damn you for judging a book by its cover. Sure, Sunderland are without the injured Steven Fletcher and the suspended Stephane Sessegnon. Sure, Stoke have won twice away from home, scoring a paltry 11 goals. Sure, Tony Pulis wears that baseball cap. But this can be good. It's still good.
There's Paolo Di Canio to provide the entertainment, for instance. Though some of the lustre has disappeared from his crown since Sunderland's 6-1 defeat to Aston Villa last week, following on from the wins over Everton and Newcastle. These things will happen though and Sunderland badly need to get something out of tonight's match, what with Wigan creeping up behind them in classic Wigan-in-April mode. As stated they're without Fletcher and Sessegnon though, so it's time someone else made them look a hero. Someone, say, like Danny Graham, still without a goal since his move from Swansea in January.
That victory for Wigan at West Brom has put the cat amongst the pigeons. And the Black Cats in the brown stuff. They're only two points above the bottom three and if they lose this one, then they'll be in the bottom three if Wigan beat Swansea at home tomorrow. Not that there's too much point trying to predict what's about to happen down at the bottom of the Premier League. Swansea are on 43 points in 9th place and Wigan can still finish above them if they win their remaining three games. And then there's Stoke. Three weeks ago all the talk was about how they were in freefall. Two wins later, they were safe, happily sitting there on 40 points. But then, without doing anything, they've found themselves ever so slightly back in it after Wigan's win. It's that name that keeps cropping up, isn't it: Wigan. They make everyone nervous. It's going to be nervy. Do stick around.