We're out of the bottom three! This calls for some player ratings...
Vito Mannone – 9 – Man of The Match
Clean sheet and made key saves to keep us in the game and deny Stoke, maybe looked a bit vulnerable with some crosses, but don’t let that get in the way of how important the Italian is for us now. A hero with the fans.
Phil Bardsley – 7
Did his job with no complaints until he was replaced with an injury after half time, hopefully it’s just a precaution, we need him for Saturday.
Marcos Alonso – 6
Again, same as Bardsley but came through unscathed, could have done better in the final third with his deliveries into the box, slightly worrying, but he’s helping to unify our back four. Was caught a few times diving in for possession which may have cost us if we had poor centre backs.
John O’Shea – 7
Did everything expect from the skipper. Solid, but credit where it’s due, along with the rest of the back four, held out well from the late push from Stoke
Wes Brown – 7
Would of gave him a seven, but struggled after an alright-ish display. Solid all-round, but is making the odd mistake now and then and may cost us one game. Almost conceded a silly own goal too, but happy he helped with the clean sheet and made one or two crucial interventions.
Ki Sung-Yeung – 6
Hmm, not the Ki we know that unlocks opposing doors (sorry). Did okay but did give away possession at times. We still love you KI!
Jack Colback – 5
Conceded silly a free kick but done his job in all fairness. Almost scored in the dying minutes of the game, he’s another one we’ll need come the weekend. Bottled a lot of creative opportunities and cost us two great chances with two really poor passes.
Seb Larsson – 7
Point. Shout. Point. Run. Point. Corner. Right then where was I? The Swede done his job and didn’t get booked, looked in good nick tonight and almost scored.
Adam Johnson – 8
He. Is. On. Fire. Six goals in six games for our magician and eight in all competition’s. Needs to keep this form going, was nearly man of the match after tonight. Match winner once more.
Jozy Altidore – 8
A much, MUCH better performance from the American forward. He put in a real, confident shift tonight which was such a delight to see since his concerning dip in form. A goal would have been the icing on the cake.
Fabio Borini – 7
Played well in his role, his shot set up Johnson eventually and looked like he will be a key player from now until the end of the season, shame we won’t be keeping him, I like him.
Ondřej Celustka – 4
Meh, adequate cover for Bardo, defensively anyway. Any remote kind of influence in the opposition half almost exclusively leads to giving the ball away. Technically so, so poor it’s baffling at times.
Steven Fletcher – 4
Was he on the pitch like? The game really changed with his introduction, in Stoke’s favour.
Craig Gardner – N/A
No time to make impact