Crawley Town's FA Cup run came to an end against top-flight opposition for the
second year running
as 10-man Stoke advanced to the last eight.
Last year's finalists overcame Rory Delap's controversial sending-off to go ahead through Jon Walters's confident penalty for a foul on Ryan Shawcross.
A Peter Crouch header shortly after half-time sealed the result.
Stoke's Danny Collins handballed Tyrone Barnett's shot on the line in injury time but no penalty was given.
Crawley went out of the competition to Manchester United last season at the fifth round stage.
CRAWLEY'S CUP RUNS
won 5-0 at Guiseley
drew 1-1 with Swindon
Second round replay:
won 3-2 at Swindon
beat Derby County 2-1
won 1-0 at Torquay
lost 1-0 at Manchester United
won 2-0 at Bury
beat Redbridge 5-0
beat Bristol City 1-0
won 1-0 at Hull City
lost 2-0 to Stoke City
And they attempted to give Stoke a taste of their own set-piece medicine throughout the tie but the top-flight side's extra quality in that department - both in defence and attack - proved critical.
Despite losing Delap, the visitors displayed professionalism and efficiency to see off a side that were a genuine threat to their progress, having already beaten Championship sides
on their route to the fifth round.
Tony Pulis was furious at the decision to dismiss Delap for a tackle on David Hunt, which his opposite number Steve Evans had ventured onto the pitch to protest against, although his team were in no way affected by the setback.
Pulis had taken no chances with his team selection, fielding a powerful line-up that included England international Crouch in attack but it was Crawley who enjoyed the better of the early exchanges.
Crouch almost gave the League Two underdogs the lead when Asmir Begovic missed one of a flurry of early Crawley corners, the ball rebounding off the striker's thigh and onto the crossbar.
During those formative stages the game was being played at a frantic pace and it exploded on the 16-minute mark with Delap's sending-off.
The midfielder's challenge on Hunt was slightly high and hard but there was - to the visible frustration of Stoke boss Pulis - some contact on the ball.
Steve ClaridgeBBC Football Analyst
"The sending off worked in Stoke's favour, it sorted out what they needed to do. After 10 minutes they were all over the shop and it looked like we might have a shock but it was a very comfortable afternoon in the end."
There were strong claims for a penalty from the resulting free-kick when Shawcross appeared to block Barnett as the ball was played into the box but the appeals were waved away.
A spot-kick was awarded at the other end, though, when Shawcross went to ground under a challenge from Kyle McFadzean, with Walters hammering home from 12 yards.
It was the first goal Crawley had conceded in this season's competition but was swiftly followed by another soon after the interval.
Crouch outjumped Claude Davis to head home Glenn Whelan's free-kick just seven minutes into the second half.
Crawley were restricted mainly to long-range efforts after that, but should have had a penalty in injury time when Barnett's overhead kick struck Collins's elbow on the goal-line.
Stoke City manager Tony Pulis:
"You can see why they (Crawley) have been successful. They played to their strengths and were a very, very tough side.
"We had to show them the utmost respect, which we did in our preparation. We are very, very pleased to get past them.
"It is a great achievement by the football club to have made a third successive quarter-final appearance.
"We're one win away from Wembley again and it would be lovely if we could get a home tie."
Crawley Town manager Steve Evans:
"It is fantastic for the town, it is another fantastic run and payday for the football club.
"I think we're unfortunate to go out this year. I think I probably take it harder this year than I did going out at Manchester United.
"That is because I have looked at the footage and highlights of the key incidents that have changed this game today.
"I can't help but be disappointed by the match referee. I think from a second-half perspective, he has had a poor game for me and he is normally a very good referee."
This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.