Second half goals from Patrick Van Aanholt and Duncan Watmore were enough to give Sunderland a thoroughly deserved win over Stoke at the Stadium of Light.
Sunderland made a bright start to the game and they created the first chance on 8 minutes. Van Aanholt picked out Fletcher in the box, he turned his marker but his deflected effort was well held by Butland.
Sunderland looked the more dangerous team and they carved out another good chance on 18 minutes. Neat build up play on the edge of the box between Defoe and Larsson allowed Defoe to find space but his effort flashed inches wide of the far post.
Sunderland had a scare on 24 minutes after Bojan’s cross was diverted towards goal by Larsson at the near post but Pantilimon was alert to get down well.
Stoke started to pressure the Black Cats and they could have taken the lead against the run of play on 34 minutes as a smart reaction save from Pantilimon was needed to deny Walters from close range.
Duncan Watmore was introduced after Defoe hobbled off and the youngster brought the spark back into Sunderland just as Stoke began to find their feet. The Englishman continuously ran at the Stoke defence, forcing a couple of corners before the break however none resulted in any shots at goal.
However Watmore’s presence was felt on 47 minutes as Shawcross received a second yellow card for clipping the striker.
It was all Sunderland after the sending off and chances were arriving for the Black Cats. On 54 minutes M’Vila’s shot was saved by the legs of Butland after good work from Lens set up the Frenchman. Two minutes later Jack Butland produced an excellent save to tip over Coates’s header after the Uruguayan was found by Lens.
The Black Cats were finding space all over now and Lens was instrumental in attacks however the end product was lacking quality as he saw two efforts go well wide.
Stoke were camped in their own half now but Sunderland were finding it difficult to break down the Potters defence. The Black Cats had a penalty appeal turned down when Lens was nudged to the ground although it did look a bit soft.
Sunderland finally made the breakthrough on 82 minutes with a rocket of a strike from Van Aanholt. A free kick was taken short to Van Aanholt and he rifled the ball into the bottom corner from 30 yards.
The Black Cats made it two nil three minutes later as Yedlin’s throw in wasn’t cleared properly and Watmore did the rest as he blazed the ball past Butland who could do nothing.
Sunderland were rampant and could have made it worse for Stoke had they taken more chances near the end, but a thoroughly deserved win was claimed as Sunderland get back to back wins.
Sunderland (3-5-2): Pantilimon, Yedlin, Kaboul, O’Shea (c) (Johnson 74’), Coates, Van Aanholt, M’Vila, Cattermole, Larsson (Lens 53’), Defoe (Watmore 31’), Fletcher.
Subs: Mannone, Matthews, Toivonen, Lens, Borini, Johnson, Watmore.
Goals: Van Aanholt (82’) Watmore (85’)
Stoke City (4-5-1): Butland, Johnson, Pieters, Wollscheid, Shawcross, Whelan, Adam (Afellay 85’), Arnautovic, Shaqiri (Diouf 64’), Bojan (Cameron 49’), Walters.
Subs: Haugaard, Wilson, Cameron, Afellay, Van Ginkel, Diouf, Crouch.
Sent Off: Shawcross (47’)