A last-minute goal from Robert Huth, his second of the game, and one from John Carew on his home debut, gave Stoke a win they just about deserved for their determination, if not the quality of their play, but Sunderland manager Steve Bruce had reason to feel aggrieved on several counts.
"I want my defenders and goalkeeper to do their job properly, and they didn't, but the officials have to do their job too. Carew's goal was a yard offside," he said.
It took Sunderland barely two minutes to go ahead. Asamoah Gyan failed to control Phil Bardsley's pass into the Stoke penalty area, but the ball fell kindly for Kieran Richardson to drive high past Asmir Begovic.
Sunderland were dangerous in possession, but they struggled to cope with Rory Delap's long throws. Shortly after the half-hour, Craig Gordon failed to clear another hanging ball in the six-yard box, Huth nodded the ball down and Carew poked it over the line. Only Anton Ferdinand was between him and the goal, but the goal was allowed to stand.
The second half began like the first, Gyan chased a long ball more in hope than expectation, but Huth dithered and the Ghanaian left him on his backside, cut back and drove the ball decisively to the net.
Stoke equalised from a well-flighted Jermaine Pennant free-kick that Gordon should have cleared, but he hesitated, and Huth forced the ball over the line.
The home side got the winner when another Pennant delivery cleared the Sunderland defenders and Huth, stretching, steered the ball beyond Gordon.
"The spirit the players showed in our third match in a week was fantastic," said a pleased Stoke manager, Tony Pulis.
Sunday Indo Sport