Sunderland's renaissance under Sam Allardyce continued on Saturday with a 2-0 win over Stoke City.
The Black Cats saluted for the third time in their past five outings to clinch a second straight win for the first time this campaign, allowing them to climb out of the relegation zone.
Stoke lost captain Ryan Shawcross to a controversial red card - for a second bookable offence - early in the second half which gave Sunderland the impetus to kick on grab two late goals.
Patrick van Aanholt gave the Wearsiders the advantage with a stunning 82nd-minute strike from a short free-kick to open his Premier League account before Duncan Watmore got in behind Philipp Wollscheid before firing beyond Jack Butland from an angle just minutes later.
The win allowed Sunderland to move up to 17th on the table as Mark Hughes' Potters remained 12th after copping their first defeat in four matches.
Sunderland: 2 (Patrick van Aanholt 82', Duncan Watmore 84')
Stoke City: 0 (red card: Ryan Shawcross 47')
Stadium of Light, Sunderland - 41,516
- Allardyce has turned things around at Sunderland. Is the current squad capable of survival or do the Black Cats still need reinforcements in January?
- Stoke below their best but did the red card cost them? It appeared that Shawcross made contact with the ball when challenging Watmore. Did this decision make the difference?
Sunderland head to Arsenal in search of a third consecutive victory next weekend while Stoke next meet Sheffield Wednesday in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday prior to their home clash with Manchester City on Saturday.
Sunderland's Allardyce on his desire to avoid another relegation battle:
"I said when I came here, I don't really want to be doing what the club has done over the last four years and have to win a huge amount of games in the last six or eight matches. Let's try not to get there and let's try to do it as quickly as we can."
Stoke boss Hughes on the Shawcross sending off:
"I felt the referee should have used common sense, to be perfectly honest. Ryan feels he got a touch on the ball - if that's the case, then he's got their first, so the referee should have given him the benefit of the doubt."
*Thanks to Opta
5 - Ryan Shawcross has been sent off five times in the Premier League, three more than any other Stoke player. Mist.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) November 28, 2015
Goals - Jermain Defoe, Steven Fletcher 4
Assists - Jeremain Lens, Yann M'Vila 3
Clean sheets - Costel Pantilimon 3
Yellow cards - Billy Jones 5
Red cards - Jeremain Lens, Younes Kaboul 1
Goals - Mame Biram Diouf, Marko Arnautovic, Bojan Krkic 3
Assists - Marko Arnautovic, Glen Johnson 2
Clean sheets - Jack Butland 5
Yellow cards - Erik Pieters 5
Red cards - Ibrahim Afellay, Charlie Adam, Ryan Shawcross 1