REUTERS - Joe Allen proved Stoke City's hero with a first-half double setting the Potters on the way to a 2-0 victory over Sunderland in the dogfight between the Premier League's two bottom clubs.
The Welsh midfielder Allen is in the form of his life, taking his tally of goals to four in his last three games and also having also netted for Wales in the 2-2 draw against Austria.
His heroics enabled Stoke to leap four points clear of their visitors, who lie rooted at the foot of the table on just two points as the pressure mounts on their manager David Moyes.
The diminutive Allen, signed in the close season from Liverpool, equalled his best-ever season's tally of goals, heading home Marko Arnautovic's cross in the eighth minute and shooting past the busy Jordan Pickford just before halftime.
(Reporting by Ian Chadband, editing by Pritha Sarkar)