LONDON // Sunderland failed to bolster their European ambitions on Saturday when they twice squandered a lead to lose 3-2 at mid-table Stoke City in an entertaining early kickoff in the Premier League.
Robert Huth scored a last gasp winner for the hosts, his second strike of the game, after the German defender had been at fault for Sunderland's second goal.
Kieran Richardson pounced after two minutes to put the visitors ahead, benefiting from an air-kick by strike partner Asamoah Gyan, but a mistake by keeper Craig Gordon allowed Stoke's John Carew to poke home an equaliser on his home debut.
Sunderland restored their lead just after halftime when Gyan punished the hesitancy of Huth before drilling a low shot past Stoke keeper Asmir Begovic.
When Gordan failed to deal with Jermaine Pennant's inswinging 83rd minute free kick and Huth touched the ball over the line it seemed Sunderland would have to settle for a point but worse was to follow for Steve Bruce's sixth-placed side.
Three minutes into stoppage time another Pennant free kick caused havoc in the Sunderland defence and Huth completed his rise from villain to hero by tucking in on the volley.