Sunderland climbs out of drop zone after beating Stoke City

Adam Johnson, left, receives congratulations after his goal gave Sunderland a 1-0 lead over Stoke City on Wednesday.
Scott Heppell/AP

SUNDERLAND, England (AP) - Adam Johnson scored in the first half to give Sunderland a 1-0 win over 10-man Stoke and lift his team out of the Premier League relegation zone for the first time since August.

Johnson scored his sixth goal in six games from close range in the 17th minute after Potters keeper Asmir Begovic had spilled Fabio Borini's effort.

Stoke handed a debut to new signing Peter Odemwingie, but struggled to create anything during the opening stages. The Potters nearly pulled level in the 39th, but Sunderland keeper Vito Mannone pulled off a stunning save to keep out Ryan Shawcross' point-blank header.

The visitors' hopes of a fightback were dealt a blow within eight minutes of the restart when midfielder Steven Nzonzi was sent off for a second booking -- both of which came for fouling U.S. striker Jozy Altidore -- although Shawcross looped a header against the bar with six minutes remaining.

Altidore was denied a goal as well, with Begovic going to ground to rob him of a close-range effort.

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide - from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Seth Davis, and more - delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.