STOKE, England — Stoke broke a bad habit of not scoring in the first half to win its first Premier League match of the season, beating winless Sunderland 2-0 Saturday as Joe Allen’s scoring streak continued.
The Wales international shrugged off concerns over a hamstring problem with two first-half goals that took his total to five in four games for club and country, as Mark Hughes’ side finally won in its eighth league fixture.
Stoke remains in the relegation zone with six points from eight matches. Sunderland, under former Manchester United boss David Moyes, is last with two points.
The Potters had failed to score a first-half league goal this season but that was soon remedied as their first attack culminated in an opener which was far too easy.
Xherdan Shaqiri’s pass into Marko Arnautovic was not cut out and little was done to prevent the Austrian from clipping the ball to the edge of the six-yard box, where Allen got ahead of Patrick van Aanholt to nod home in the eighth minute.
It was 2-0 just before the interval after Shaqiri’s corner was headed toward goal by Ryan Shawcross. Although John O’Shea was able to nod the ball to the edge of the penalty box, Allen was there to whip a left-footed half-volley through substitute Billy Jones’ legs and into the net.
Stoke achieved its first clean sheet in 18 league games.