SUNDERLAND, England — Phil Bardsley scored in the 21st minute and struggling Sunderland neutralized Manchester City's high-powered attack to hang on for a surprising 1-0 victory in the Premier League on Sunday.
Bardsley scored his second goal in five days as the full back beat Costel Pantilimon with a curling shot from a tight angle, and Sunderland soaked up City's pressure the rest of the way to earn just its second victory of the season.
It signaled a possible revival under new manager Gus Poyet, who took over after Paolo Di Canio was sacked with the team in last place. However, it is still second from bottom with seven points from 11 games.
It was another setback for City, which lost for the fourth time in six away games this season and is languishing outside the top four.
City arrived at the Stadium of Light having scored 14 goals in their past three games in all competitions, but they were unable to break down Sunderland's defense to find a way past goalkeeper Vito Mannone.
The visitors started positively and Bardsley had to make an important header to deny Alvaro Negredo a seventh-minute header at goal from Aleksander Kolarov's cross, and Mannone plucked James Milner's long-range drive out of the air seconds later.
However, the home side might have gone ahead when Sebastian Larsson picked out lone striker Steven Fletcher with an inviting right-wing cross, but the Scotland international mistimed his header and sent it well wide.
They did take the lead after Wes Brown, starting his first Premier League game since Jan. 21, floated the ball over the top for Bardsley to shake off Milner before cutting inside and curling a shot across Pantilimon, who was once again preferred to England international Joe Hart.
City's response was tepid and Sunderland created a series of half-chances to increase their lead, although Ki Sung-yueng overhit a through-ball to the unmarked Fletcher and defender Martin Demichelis got to Emanuele Giaccherini's 36th-minute cross marginally ahead of the Scot.
City manager Manuel Pellegrini replaced defensive midfielder Javi Garcia with winger Jesus Navas after the break, and the newcomer almost made an immediate impact, slipping past Johnson and crossing for Negredo to send a looping header over.
Edin Dzeko came on later and almost scored within seconds when he forced a flying save from Mannone with Aguero unable to make the most of the rebound.