Sunderland recovered from having a man sent off to battle back and earn a point against Stoke at the Stadium of Light.
A draw leaves the Black Cats three points above the relegation zone and still in danger of going down, while the visitors are all but safe after moving on to 41 points.
After making all the early the running the home side found themselves behind in the ninth minute. Charlie Adam’s corner found Jon Walters, who reacted sharply to power the ball home off the underside of the cross bar after Danny Graham blocked his original header.
Sunderland responded valiantly to going behind but were soon at a numerical disadvantage for the second game running, as Craig Gardner’s late lunge on Adam prompted referee Lee Mason to brandish a straight red card.
Adam Johnson went close to restoring parity with strikes from distance either side of half time before Cameron Jerome was denied by an excellent block from John O’Shea.
It proved crucial as the Sunderland captain stabbed in at the back post from Sebastian Larsson’s corner to earn his side a vital point in their bid for Premier League survival.
Paolo Di Canio post-match…“The players were amazing to react in the way they did. This point in my opinion will be crucial at the end of the season. I will not cry or make an excuse. We have players missing and I will only focus on those players I can select.”
Tony Pulis post-match…“We’re disappointed not to take the three points which would have made us safe but we are 11th in the Premier League with two games to go. We can still finish in the top half.”
Good night for…Adam Johnson: This is the type of performance Sunderland fans expected when Johnson arrived from Manchester City in the summer. Stoke struggled to halt his weaving runs up the right flank as he terrorised Ryan Shotton.
Bad night for…Craig Gardner: Arguably the most relieved man in Wearside right now after his side battled back to earn a point following his fist half red card for a dangerous, late lunge on Adam.