Sunderland 2 Stoke City 0: Van Aanholt and Watmore seal the win but who scooped man of the match gong?

Sunderland players celebrate the Stoke City win

Sunderland players celebrate the Stoke City win

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Sunderland climbed out of the drop-zone for the first time this season thanks to a fine 2-0 win over Stoke City.

Patrick van Aanholt and Duncan Watmore scored the vital goals, but who stood out for the Black Cats?

Richard Mennear rates the Sunderland players following back-to-back wins and clean sheets:

Costel Pantilimon: 8. Excellent stop from Walters' close-range shot to keep the scores level first half. Lucky not to be booked for handling outside area.

DeAndre Yedlin: 7. Improved defensively, looked bright going forward too. Needed to support the midfield more and he did as game wore on.

John O’Shea (C): 7. Solid afternoon's work from O'Shea. Was forced off midway through second half as Sunderland went for the win.

Younes Kaboul: 8. Made a number of key blocks first half. Best Sunderland defender since international break. Impressed again.

Sebastian Coates: 7. Another impressive display by the Uruguayan, looks comfortable in back three. Saw header well saved by Butland second half.

Patrick van Aanholt: 8. Steady from Van Aanholt. Improvement from him defensively. Scored with a fine 20-yard effort from distance to break the deadlock.

Lee Cattermole: 7. Strong first-half in central midfield, struggled a little after the break though with some stray passes but regained control.

Yann M’Vila: 7. Involved in most positive aspects of Sunderland play, breaking up play and playing the ball quickly.

Seb Larsson: 7. Worked hard in the midfield three, gave away a few too many free-kicks though. Almost deflected a Shaqiri cross in but Pantilimon was there to save.

Jermain Defoe: 6. Forced off after 31 minutes. Shame, had looked sharp beforehand alongside Fletcher. One effort flashed just wide of post. No point risking further injury though.

Steven Fletcher: 8. Connected well with both Defoe and Watmore, a few too many fancy flicks that didn't come off but played well overall. Working really hard.

Subs:

Duncan Watmore (for Defoe, 31): 8. MOM. Made a big difference when he came on. Direct, quick, clever feet, caused Stoke all sorts of problems. Shawcross couldn't cope with him. Added a fine second.

Jeremain Lens (for Larsson, 54): 7. Made an instant impact. Bright, with a point to prove.

Adam Johnson (for O'Shea, 74): 6. Added some drive to the Sunderland attack.

Subs Not Used:

Mannone, Borini, Matthews, Toivonen.

Booked: None

Goals: Van Aanholt (82), Watmore (84).

Stoke (4-2-3-1):

Jack Butland: 6

Glenn Johnson: 6

Ryan Shawcross (C): 5

Philipp Wollscheid: 6

Erik Pieters: 6

Glen Whelan: 5

Charlie Adam: 6

Xherdan Shaqiri: 5

Bojan Krkic: 5

Marko Arnautovic: 6

Jonathan Walters: 6

Subs:

Geoff Cameron (for Bojan, 50): 5

Mame Diouf (for Shaqiri, 63): 5

Ibrahim Afellay (for Adam, 85): 5

Subs Not Used:

Haugaard, Wilson, van Ginkel, Crouch.

Booked: Adam (33), Shawcross (42), Pieters (81)

Sent off: Shawcross (47)

Referee: Mike Dean (Wirral) Denied Sunderland at least one clear penalty, several shouts for more. 5/10.

Attendance: 41,516