Not many managers are sacked after winning a game. About as many as get the chance to sack themselves, in fact.

But that was the fate for Sunderland's outgoing manager, Niall Quinn, as Roy Keane's arrival sparked the Coca-Cola Championship's bottom club into producing their first victory since last May - and West Bromwich Albion's first defeat of the season.

Keane does not start work as Sunderland's new boss until this morning, when club chairman Quinn retires to the boardroom. But all it appeared to take was a handshake from the former Manchester United legend - and maybe a long, hard, look into his new players' eyes - to transform the fired-up Wearsiders from laughing stocks into world -beaters. And all poor Albion could do was stand there and watch.

They say nobody remembers who came second and they certainly won't in this one. Bryan Robson's Baggies came a long way second.

On such a momentous day, perhaps it was not surprising that they were destined to be here purely as the opposition, but Albion turned up in name only.

Two pieces of poor defending from set pieces cost Robson's men, Neill Collins' near-post header from a free-kick at the start of the second half confirming victory after Dean Whitehead's first-half corner had flown straight in to the net.

But, despite that lucky break, the home side were well worth their first points of the season and it simply added to the glee for the home fans that they should have beaten a Baggies side containing Kevin Phillips, who had turned down the chance to return to Sunderland and instead had signed last week for Albion.

But his new team being so comprehensively outplayed on one August Bank Holiday afternoon is surely not enough to suggest that Phillips may have made a mistake by snubbing his old Sunderland co-striker Quinn to move from Aston Villa to Albion.

What it did say was that Robson might be spending the final three days before the transfer window closes at the end of the month with a little more time spent on the phone than he might previously have planned.

Albion's first defeat since May 1 came on the afternoon the manager was tempted into making his first change of the season to his Championship line-up.

The Albion boss has made no secret of the fact that he has been unhappy with his engine room and not even his first goal in 19 months, against Colchester United nine days earlier, was enough for Ronnie Wallwork to keep his place.

Wallwork, again off the pace in the Carling Cup win at Leyton Orient in midweek, finally paid the price and young Richard Chaplow - a scorer at Brisbane Road - came in for his first league start since Anfield last New Year's Eve.

Although the form guide suggested an away win, there was another major factor involved just what sort of chain reaction Keane's arrival might trigger.

Sure enough, despite the five straight defeats suffered under Quinn and the infuriating sight for the fans of their favourite son, Phillips, warming up in an Albion shirt, the pre-match mood was surprisingly buoyant.

Once Keane had taken his place in a seat in the directors' box just before the game, to a better reception than the one he received when sent off on his last appearance here for Manchester United four seasons ago, the off-field mood translated into the way Sunderland played.

As so often happens with any team looking to up the pace in front of their new manager, Sunderland were inspired.

Five decent early openings were carved out, the best of them when £1.7 million new boy Tobias Hysen - son of former Liverpool defender Glen - fired inexplicably wide from Chris Brown's low cross. But when Grant Leadbitter dribbled his way through only for his low right-foot shot to be kept out by Pascal Zuberbuhler's outstretched right leg, the furrowed brows were starting to return to the home fans' foreheads.

Then Sunderland got that little bit of luck they needed to make the breakthrough.

Whitehead's corner sailed in on the breeze beyond the near post where Zuberbuhler had gone to meet it. But the Swiss goalkeeper didn't make it, sliding to the floor in a pile of bodies and, despite Paul Robinson's frantic dash from the back post in an attempt to keep it out with a clearing header, TV replays confirmed that the linesman's decision to award a goal was spot on.

All Albion had offered was an early effort from John Hartson, turned round his left post for a corner by home goalkeeper Ben Alnwick.

The second half began even more dramatically. Within 68 seconds of Phillips coming on at the break for his Albion league debut, Brown's tireless running won a free-kick wide on the right for Sunderland. Hysen swung over an excellent near-post delivery and Collins stole a yard on his marker, Hartson, to head home.

Alnwick had to make a brave save in among some flying legs to tidy up his own error after making a hash of a Zoltan Gera free-kick but that was one of only two Albion efforts on target.