Alex Neil’s gesture to Sunderland fans, potential Stoke red card turned down plus Jack Clarke penalty appeal

Some of the moments you may have missed during Sunderland’s defeat against Stoke City at the bet365 Stadium.

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As Stoke boss Alex Neil walked towards the tunnel in front of the travelling Sunderland fans after the full-time whistle, he was once again booed by the travelling supporters.

The Scot had acknowledged before the match he’d receive ‘dog’s abuse’ from the away end as a result of his switch from Wearside to Staffordshire just over a year ago, yet it was Neil who once again got one over on his former side here.

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As the Stoke boss left the pitch following his side’s 2-1 win he responded by waving at the Sunderland contingent who were venting their frustrations towards their old head coach. Here are some of the other moments you may have missed:

A positive reception for Lynden Gooch

Neil wasn’t the only person facing his former club, as full-back Lynden Gooch returned to the bench for Stoke after two games out with a hamstring injury. The 27-year-old, who spent over a decade on Wearside before joining Stoke on transfer deadline day, was applauded off by the away fans following the pre-match warm-up.

Gooch was applauded again by both sets of supporters when he replaced Andre Vidigal in the 80th minute, while chants of ‘Gooooooooch’ could be heard from the away end.

Handball appeals

Sunderland boss Tony Mowbray explained his frustrations after the game that Stoke’s seventh-minute opener, scored by Ryan Mmaee, wasn’t ruled out for handball against the Potters striker. Both Niall Huggins and Pierre Ekwah appealed to referee Graham Scott, yet the goal stood.

Jack Clarke moves top of the goalscoring charts

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Sunderland reacted quickly after falling behind, with Jack Clarke drawing his side level just three minutes later, converting a rebound after Jobe Bellingham’s low effort was saved. The goal marked Clarke’s eighth in 12 Championship games this season, making him the division’s outright top goalscorer ahead of Blackburn’s Sammie Szmodics and Southampton’s Adam Armstrong on seven.

Stoke’s fortute decision

After taking a 2-1 lead courtesy of Luke McNally’s header five minutes after half-time, Stoke were fortunate to keep 11 players on the field. Midfielder Daniel Jonhson had already been booked when he pulled back Bellingham to prevent a Sunderland attack near the halfway line. It could have easily been a second yellow card, while the player was substituted moments later in the 71st minute.

Clarke’s late penalty appeal

Sunderland also had a late appeal for a penalty when Clarke was challenged by Ki-Jana Hoever in the third minute of stoppage time. The Stoke defender did appear to bring Clarke down, yet it was unclear if the winger had control of the ball, which went behind for a goal-kick, after an attack down the left.

Adil Aouchiche takes on corner responsibilities

Mowbray made five substitutions in the second half as Mason Burstow, Bradley Dack, Nazariy Rusyn, Adil Aouchiche and Hemir were introduced.

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In the closing stages it was summer signing Aouchiche who was taking Sunderland’s corners as they pushed for a late equaliser. The Frenchman, who has made seven appearances off the bench for the Black Cats, did deliver some inviting crosses, yet they didn’t result in a leveller.