10-man Black Cats defeated in the Potteries.
A goal in either half saw Sunderland slip to defeat at Stoke after being reduced to 10 men in the first period.
Charlie Adam opened the scoring on the half-hour before Wes Brown was on the receiving end of a hotly contested red card after challenging the same player.
Stephen N’Zonzi’s goal eight minutes from time made sure of the points for Stoke, who registered their third league win of the season.
The dismissal was certainly a talking point as Gus Poyet's side battled manfully but were unable to overturn the deficit.
The Uruguayan named the same team which saw off Manchester City on Wearside – his side’s third win in four games.
An intriguing start saw opportunities for both sides, with Jack Colback seeing a shot deflected wide before Adam landed a curling free-kick on the roof of Vito Mannone’s net.
Both teams looked to get the ball down and a superb passage of play almost earned Sunderland the lead just before the quarter-hour.
Adam Johnson’s incisive lofted through-ball released Steven Fletcher, who turned and shot crisply only to be denied by a good block from Stoke keeper Asmir Begovic.
The Bosnian stopper was then almost beaten in entirely different circumstances just moments later, as Robert Huth inadvertently touched a Sunderland delivery towards goal – Ryan Shawcross’ last-ditch clearance saving his side’s blushes.
But instead it was Stoke who took the lead with a clinical goal on the half-hour. N’Zonzi got away from Ki down the right and pulled the ball back for Adam, who found the corner of the net with a low shot.
Sunderland then found themselves down to 10 men nine minutes before the break.
Brown appeared to have won the ball cleanly with a sliding challenge on Charlie Adam – but referee Mr Friend pulled the play back and showed the defender a red card amidst protests from the visitors.
Sunderland regrouped with Emanuele Giaccherini replaced by the impressive Valentin Roberge to maintain a flat back four.
Johnson fired over the bar, but Stoke pushed on with the man advantage after the break with Peter Crouch heading tamely at Mannone.
The big striker was then inches away from adding a second goal when he just missed Geoff Cameron’s teasing cross, which also evaded Jonathan Walters.
Phil Bardsley tested Begovic from distance at the other end, while Adam got away on the break following a Sunderland corner only to fire over with Seb Larsson applying good pressure.
Fabio Borini replaced Ondrej Celustka as Poyet attempted to take the game to Stoke, and some neat interplay opened up a shooting chance for Johnson, who fizzed a shot just wide.
Fletcher nipped through with 17 minutes from time only to come off worst in a challenge with the advancing Begovic – the Scot required treatment after appearing to be caught by a high boot.
But there was no way back from Sunderland as N’Zonzi secured the points nine minutes from time. Crouch’s intelligent pass sent the midfielder away and he finished well across Mannone.
Stoke almost made it three in added time when Marko Arnautovic worked his way into a promising position, but the Austrian blasted wide of the post when well placed.
- Huth (Wilkinson)
- Yellow Pieters
- Adam (Palacios)
- Yellow Arnautovic
- Brown Red
- Celustka (Borini)
- Larsson Yellow
- Giaccherini (Roberge)
- Fletcher (Altidore)
- Adilson Cabral