Sunderland's season continues to go from bad to worse after losing 2-0 to a Joe Allen-inspired Stoke City in the bottom-of-the-table clash.
The winless Black Cats remain bottom of the Premier League after Allen's first-half brace sealed victory for Stoke, who had started the day second bottom.
David Moyes was forced to field a patched-up side and the injury problems continue to mount too after Patrick van Aanholt was forced off with a groin injury in the first-half.
Depleted Sunderland quickly found themselves a goal down, with Allen scoring his first after eight minutes before adding a second in added-on time before the half-time break.
The game was over at half-time, with Sunderland devoid of confidence and creativity in the second-half, showing little chance of getting back into the game.
Defeat leaves Sunderland four points clear of safety after eight games, with just two points to their name. They are already in danger of getting cut adrift at the bottom.
Lamine Kone was one of three changes from the team that drew 1-1 with West Bromwich Albion before the international break.
The Ivory Coast international had not recovered from a hamstring injury suffered on international duty, while Jan Kirchhoff (hamstring) and Jason Denayer (adductor muscle) also missed out.
Joe Allen was an injury doubt ahead of the game but he was passed fit and opened the scoring after just eight minutes.
Xherdan Shaqiri played a slick through-ball to Marko Arnautovic, who had slipped his marker and he provided a cross to the edge of the six-yard box, which Allen nodded in unchallenged.
Prior to the goal, Papy Djilobodji had made a superb challenge to deny Wilfried Bony in the penalty area but Stoke quickly regained possession and took full advantage.
David Moyes and Robbie Stockdale were unhappy with referee Mike Jones in the build-up to the goal.
He had got in the way of Didier Ndong as he attempted to make a pass, the ball came back to the midfielder but he gifted possession to Shaqiri who then played in Arnautovic.
It was Sunderland's poor defending, though, that was again at fault.
Jermain Defoe had his first sight on goal 17 minutes in, Paddy McNair set Wahbi Khazri free down the right-hand flank with a superb pass and he played in the club's top scorer.
Defoe's effort, though, was blocked superbly by sliding Potters skipper Ryan Shawcross.
Sunderland were having to do a lot of defending, with Allen pulling the strings for the Potters, with the midfield pairing of McNair and Rodwell getting overran.
Defoe had another sight on goal 25 minutes in, Khazri won a loose ball in midfield before playing in the 34-year-old.
He dropped his shoulder on the edge of the area to gain some space but then blasted his effort over the crossbar.
Bony continued to cause Djilobodji problems, with the on-loan Manchester City striker turning before shooting just wide of Jordan Pickford's right-hand post.
Stoke almost doubled their lead in the 37th minute. John O'Shea needlessly gave the ball away deep in the Stoke half and the hosts broke with pace.
The ball eventually fell to Bony who whipped the ball across the face of the goal, Arnautovic could only get the end of his boot to the ball though and it went out for a goal kick. A let off.
Sunderland were dealt another injury blow five minutes before the break, with van Aanholt going off with a suspected injury to his right groin.
Billy Jones on in his place, with Manquillo switching to left-back.
It soon got worse for Sunderland, with Allen doubling the Potters' lead in added-on time.
A Stoke corner was only cleared by O'Shea to the edge of the penalty area, Allen with the low volley past Jones and Pickford into the net.
Angry and fed-up Sunderland fans let the team and manager Moyes know their feelings as they made their way off the pitch.
Half-time: Stoke City 2 Sunderland 0
The Sunderland fans gave their team their full backing at the start of the second half, with 'David Moyes' red and white army being sung at full pelt.
Their side almost conceded a third though, with Pickford alert to deny Bony's shot from the edge of the area. Allen's follow-up effort blocked by Djilobodji.
Sunderland were losing possession too easily. Moyes made a switch with McNair taken off and fit-again Steven Pienaar on after 55 minutes.
Jones and Watmore combined on the right-hand side of the penalty area, the England Under-21 international finding enough room to play in Defoe but his shot was blocked.
Stoke were a constant threat, with Allen and Arnautovic causing problems. Djilobodji again produced another superb block to deny Shaqiri.
Watmore blasted an effort high over the bar after carving out an opportunity for himself after a mazy run. Sunderland were short of ideas though.
With 67 minutes on the clock, Stoke had the ball in the net again but Arnautovic was correctly ruled offside after he diverted in sub Charlie Adam's effort.
Moyes brought Victor Anichebe on for Rodwell for the final ten minutes, with Sunderland desperately short of confidence and inspiration going forward.
With Sunderland showing no signs of getting back into the match, Stoke continued to press forward. Adam cannoned a 25-yard effort off the crossbar in the 88th minute.
Pickford comfortably saved Shaqiri's late effort from distance in added-on time.
In the end a comfortable afternoon for Stoke, as the problems continue to mount for Moyes and his Sunderland side.
Full-time: Stoke City 2 Sunderland 0
Stoke City (4-2-3-1): Grant; Bardsley (Adam, 65), Shawcross (C), M.Indi, Pieters; Cameron, Whelan; Shaqiri, Allen (Muniesa, 75), Arnautovic; Bony (Walters, 75)
Subs Not Used: Given; Diouf, Crouch, Bojan.
Booked: Arnautovic (55)
Goals: Allen (8, 45+1)
Sunderland (4-5-1): Pickford, Manquillo, O'Shea (C), Djilobodji, van Aanholt (Jones, 40), McNair (Pienaar, 55), Rodwell (Anichebe, 81), Ndong, Watmore, Khazri, Defoe.
Subs Not Used: Mika, Gooch, Asoro, Love.
Booked: Jones (90)
Referee: Mike Jones (Chester)