STOKE CITY were left feeling a great sense of injustice once again as Kenwyne Jones was denied a goal on his return to Sunderland in a 2-0 defeat in the Barclays Premier League match at the Stadium of Light.
The Potters were trailing to an early strike from Asamoah Gyan when Jones appeared to have headed them back on level terms, only for referee Martin Atkinson to wave away appeals for either a goal or a penalty.
Television replays clearly showed that Lee Cattermole had used his arm to clear the ball, but it also appeared that the former Sunderland striker's effort had crossed the line, but the referee was having nothing of that.
To make matters worse, City were reduced to ten men in the closing stages when captain Ryan Shawcross was sent off for a second bookable offence and then Gyan fired in his second to seal Sunderland's victory.
But the outcome of the game clearly hinged on the controversial moment when Jones thought he had scored as Tony Pulis' side were on the receiving end of another major decision affecting the final result.
Pulis named an unchanged side, with Begovic retaining his place ahead of the fit-again Thomas Sorensen, while City were boosted by the presence of Ricardo Fuller on the bench following his lay-off with a dislocated shoulder.
There was a blow for Sunderland with England striker Darren Bent missing the game with a flu virus and his place went to Gyan who made his full debut at home since his £13 million arrival in the summer.
City looked bright early on but Jones was given an indication of what was to come as boos rang around the stadium whenever he touched the ball, the record signing flicking on a long ball for Walters in the fourth minute.
Sunderland 'keeper Simon Mignolet was off his line smartly to collect on that occasion, while Phil Bardsley was on hand to put the ball behind for a corner when Matthew Etherington whipped a cross in from the left.
All that promising work was undone in the ninth minute when the home side went in front as some excellent approach work from Ahmed Elmohamady led to Danny Welbeck forcing an excellent save out of Begovic.
Unfortunately for City's 'keeper, Gyan was on hand as the ball rebounded out to him and he applied the finishing touch from close range to give Sunderland the boost they needed after their North East derby defeat.
One nearly became two when Malbranque curled an effort wide from 18-yards while Stoke's best effort came from Jones who forced Mignolet into a superb save after Etherington had carved their backline open.
Sunderland had the opportunity to stretch their lead when Walters was adjudged to have impeded Gyan as he burst into the box, although it appeared that the striker went down rather too easily as the bodies tangled.
Nevertheless, the referee pointed to the spot and Gyan initially wanted to take the penalty, but eventually allowed Malbranque to take over the job. The midfielder fired his effort to Begovic's left and he got down well to save it.
Chances were few and far between during the final 15 minutes of the first period, with only Tuncay for Stoke and Gyan, for Steve Bruce's side having any real efforts of note as Sunderland went in at the break one goal up.
The second half began with Etherington having a fiercely struck shot charged down by Turner and at the other end Bardsley likewise saw his drive blocked just inside the box after City had only half cleared a corner.
A long throw in from Robert Huth caused problems for the Sunderland defence when Jones flicked it on, and although the home side scramble it away, the corner then causes more havoc, but as Tuncay was about to shoot, the referee blew for an infringement, much to City's frustration.
Pulis turned to Fuller in the 57th minute when he came on to replace Walters with Tuncay switching to the right hand side to allow the Jamaican to partner Jones in City's attack, but it was Sunderland who pushed for a second.
Gyan posed another threat to the City defence, but he was off target with his final effort after getting the better of Faye, and then the lively Welbeck also fired well wide after finding space on the edge of the penalty area.
But the Potters thought they had got themselves on level terms in the 71st minute when Jones rose to head a corner goalbound, only for Cattermole to scramble it away by using his arm when it seemed to be over the line.
To add to their frustration, the corner which was awarded by Atkinson saw Jones meet it with another header, but with Cattermole on the line, his effort hit the post on this occasion and was scrambled away.
Things only got worse for the Potters when Shawcross saw red after picking up two bookings in three minutes, firstly getting booked for a foul on Welbeck and then a second for a tired challenge on the striker.
To rub salt in their wounds, Ghana international Gyan capped his memorable afternoon by capitalising on City's ten men as he fired a low shot beyond the reach of Begovic from the edge of the box four minutes from time.