Sunderland 4 Stoke 0: Birmingham old boys Larsson and Gardner star as Black Cats claim first win

Sunderland manager Steve Bruce celebrates with his players after watching his side go 3-0 ahead.

Sunderland manager Steve Bruce celebrates with his players after watching his side go 3-0 ahead.

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Sunderland demolished Stoke to claim their first victory of the season.

The Black Cats roared into a 3-0 lead within 28 first-half minutes to lay the foundation for just their third Barclays Premier League win of 2011 at the Stadium of Light.

Titus Bramble's first strike for the club gave them a fifth-minute advantage and an own goal from former Newcastle team-mate Jonathan Woodgate - from an excellent Seb Larsson cross - six minutes later left Stoke, who were unbeaten in nine games in all competitions before today, in deep trouble.

Craig Gardner made it 3-0 with a deflected shot and fellow former Birmingham City midfielder Larsson curled home a fine 58th-minute free-kick to leave those who had stayed away - the match was watched by a crowd of just 32,296 - regretting their decision.

The home crowd taunted an out-of-sorts Peter Crouch - who had spurned Sunderland’s summer bid to sign him - with chants of “what a waste of money”.

Only a fine Begovic saved denied Gardner a fifth goal for Sunderland.