Sunderland suffered their second defeat of the season at the Academy, losing 4-1 at home to a strong, powerful Stoke side.
Ironically, they could have scored twice in the first five minutes but goal line clearances by Stoke kept them at bay.
Then the Potters hit back with three goals in a 13-minute spell, virtually destroying the home defence in the process.
The first came on 15 minutes when a low cross by Mohamad Diallo wasn’t dealt with and Venancio Da Silva Monterio was able to slide home.
Three minutes later, the lead was doubled when the defence was split for striker Jordan Greenidge to fire pass Sunderland keeper Michael Woud.
It was all Stoke now, and from a corner a header hit the bar and fell into the grateful arms of keeper Woud.
But on 28 minutes, they did make it three when captain Louis Silva crashed home a left wing corner after losing his marker.
Jake Hackett showed good foot work as Sunderland tried to recover and striker Sonny Best hit a left foot shot just wide for their best effort in the half.
The Wearsiders did improve in the second period but on 63 minutes Nicklas Jokelaien put the game out of reach with a downward header from a left side cross that no one reacted to in the home defence.
Nine minutes from time, Sunderland grabbed a consolation goal when a fierce Fergus McAughtrie strike was parried by the keeper and Ben Kimpioka was able to force the ball into the net.
Post match, Sunderland coach Elliott Dickman said “Once again poor defending let us down.
“After the first 15 minutes when we played quite well, we fell apart and three goals in 13 minutes killed us off.”
Sunderland: Woud, Taylor, Storey (Howard 65), Young (Leonard 55), McAughtrie, Bale, Hickey, Allan (Fowler 80), Best, Kimpioka, Hackett.