A drab encounter at the Britannia Stadium left Stoke and Sunderland with a point each in game that lacked the cutting edge that we have seen recently from the teams. The main talking point wasn`t about goals, or action, but what looks like a bad injury for Potters defender Marc Wilson.
Stoke started the game very well and came out of the blocks very quickly, as we have seen all season. Sunderland started very slow and the first 5 minutes were very much in the Potters favour. The only thing that can really be discussed within the first 15 minutes was an offside decision against talismanic striker Peter Crouch, which was incorrect. It was obvious straight from the start the both teams were lacking the final ball. It was clear that this game was going to be played in the middle of the park straight from the start.
The only effort that can really be discussed in the first half came on the 20th minute, Danny Rose gave away a free kick to the hosts and the ball was swung in by Charlie Adam. The ball was hoisted in for Huth to get a head on, but he was inches away from making contact with the ball and as Mignolet got the ball back out, the ball was passed to Shawcross who volleyed the ball straight at the Sunderland shot-stopper.
Just like in the first half, Stoke came out of the blocks very well, but on the 49th minute, disaster struck for the Potters. Steven Fletcher and Marc Wilson went in to a tackle together, and the tackle looked extremely innocuous to say the least. Fletcher got up, but Wilson stayed down and the Sunderland striker instantly signaled to get the ball put out of play as he saw the extent of Wilson`s pain. Further scans have shown that Marc Wilson has broken his fibula, and he is set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines.
The second half after Wilson`s injury was much like the first. The only real talking point was a strong tackle from Dean Whitehead on Seb Larsson. Larsson was breaking through down the wing and Whitehead nearly kicked him into Row Z to put a stop on the Swede`s run. A yellow card was brandished and nobody can really argue with that decision.
Finally in the 94th minute, Stoke started to actually attack! Another corner put in by Etherington, and Huth headed at goal but Mignolet saved the tame header easily. Following this, Crouch was breaking through and the ball was pushed away to Kightly, who dragged a tame shot wide. The referee mercifully blew for full time after 8 minutes of injury time , to end a game that lacked skill and innovation on the pitch.