Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 September 2014

Fuller’s turning down the volume

Ricardo Fuller's second-half header gave Stoke a deserved victory over Sunderland to lift the Potters out of the Barclays Premier League bottom three.

Predictably, Rory Delap - one of three Stoke players along with Thomas Sorensen and Danny Higginbotham to play against their former club — was the architect with one of his trademark long throws.

Fuller rose above Dean Whitehead on the six-yard line to power his header past Marton Fulop in the 73rd minute.

It was Stoke's first victory over Sunderland in the top flight since a 2-1 win in March 1984, when the Staffordshire club successfully fought a battle against relegation.

Most in the Potteries will be hoping that is an omen.

Results of a study by television engineers this week measured crowds at the Britannia Stadium as the loudest in the Premier League, and that was in evidence at kick-off.

However, the vociferous home supporters were soon quietened as Sunderland launched what looked like a promising attack down the left-hand side involving George McCartney and Djibril Cisse.

Good link-up play between the pair created space for Cisse to shoot, forcing Sorensen into a smothering save at the foot of his near post in the opening minute.

A trademark long throw from Delap fashioned Stoke's first opening.

Sorensen was then called into action for the first time in the 84th minute but he was equal to the task, getting down low to block Jones' angled shot with a strong right hand before smothering the ball.

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