Martin O’Neill’s men twice appealed for a penalty in the second half, but Stoke could have snatched it in the dying stages as Peter Crouch was denied by Simon Mignolet.
Both sides struggled to settle at a blustery Britannia and Michael Kightly spurned an early opening for Stoke with a mishit cross, while Sunderland’s Craig Gardner could not pick out Jack Colback with a low centre.
The Potters’ prowess from set-pieces is no secret and Mignolet was forced to punch away Charlie Adam’s curling free-kick before he got down well to save Ryan Shawcross’ follow up effort.
Kightly tried to add spark to Stoke with a run and shot that was headed behind by Carlos Cuellar and the Sunderland defender was soon in action at the other end, nodding wide from Sebastian Larsson’s free-kick.
The Black Cats were coping well with the hosts’ aerial threat and Mignolet again elected to punch clear when Adam’s cross took a wicked deflection.
Stoke soon suffered a setback in the second half as Marc Wilson was stretchered off with a nasty looking injury and their reshuffled defence was almost breached when Adam Johnson fired narrowly over from long-range.
Sunderland were playing with more attacking purpose and they appealed in vain for a penalty when Colback crashed into Shawcross in the box.
But the Black Cats were given brief cause for concern when Geoff Cameron broke into the box and picked out Adam, who failed to trouble Mignolet with a chipped effort.
A scrappy contest finally came to life in the closing stages and Sunderland’s shouts for a spot-kick were again shunned by referee Mark Halsey after Stephen Fletcher’s drive hit Huth’s arm.
It was then Stoke’s turn to push for a breakthrough as Huth’s close-range header drew a reaction save from Mignolet.