Sunderland 4 West Bromwich Albion 0
Sunderland striker Kenwyne Jones nudged West Brom closer to the Premier League trapdoor as life after Roy Keane took a turn for the better.
The £6million man scored twice inside a minute to put the Black Cats on the road to just their second victory in nine attempts and end a run of four successive home defeats.
Andy Reid's 39th-minute header wrapped up the points before the break and Djibril Cisse converted a 47th-minute penalty to ease the Wearsiders out of the bottom three and present caretaker boss Ricky Sbragia with a first victory.
It also handed chairman Niall Quinn breathing space as he attempts to find the right man to replace Keane.
Writing in his programme notes, Quinn insisted he had not ruled out Sbragia as a candidate for the job on a permanent basis, and the players sent out by the Scot could hardly have done any more for his cause.
Few of the 36,280 spectators inside the Stadium of Light were under any illusion as to the importance of a clash between the sides lying 18th and 20th in the table respectively.
But by half-time the Black Cats were casting their gaze very much in an upward direction as the Baggies looked anxiously over their shoulders.
West Brom's lack of goals is their Achilles heel, and the loss of striker Ishmael
Miller for the rest of the season to a cruciate ligament injury was a massive blow. Sunderland have also been shot-shy in recent weeks, but in Jones and Cisse they have strikers of proven quality, and Trinidad and Tobago international Jones could not have chosen a better moment to announce his return to form.
Reid's 22nd-minute cross simply begged to be converted and Jones did not disappoint with a firm header.
The home fans were still celebrating when seconds later, he turned up in the right place to convert from close range after goalkeeper Scott Carson had blocked both Cisse's shot and Jones' initial follow-up.
An air of relief as much as celebration settled on the Stadium of Light, and there was more to come when Reid arrived at the far post to head Steed Malbranque's cross into the net to effectively settle the game.
The Baggies, who mustered only two long-range efforts inside the opening 45 minutes, as ever played neat football, but lone frontman Luke Moore saw too little of the ball to make any real impact.
Tony Mowbray knew he needed to add strike power and sent on Roman Bednar and Do-heon Kim for James Morrison and Chris Brunt.
However, within a minute of his arrival, Bednar handed the Black Cats a chance to increase their lead. Attempting to clear Malbranque's free-kick, he only succeeded in handling the ball and referee Lee Mason immediately pointed to the spot.
Cisse drilled the penalty straight down the middle as Carson dived to his right.
The Frenchman passed up a glorious opportunity to help himself to a second with 58 minutes gone when he shot over from close range, but Bednar was just as wasteful at the other end when he cleared the crossbar with a free header from just six yards.
Mowbray's side continued to play neat and positive football but never really looked like reducing the deficit.
Indeed, the closest they came to beating keeper Marton Fulop was when Jones headed a 77th-minute Borja Valero corner just wide of his own goal.
Substitute Do-heon Kim saw two shots blocked and Jonathan Greening a third in quick succession as the visitors fought to the whistle, but to no avail.
SUNDERLAND: Fulop, Bardsley, Ferdinand, Nosworthy, Collins, Malbranque (Edwards 59), Tainio, Richardson, Reid (Leadbitter 79), Cisse, Jones. Subs Not Used: Colgan, Diouf, Miller, Murphy, Yorke.
Goals: Jones 22, 24, Reid 40, Cisse 47 pen.
WEST BROM: Carson, Zuiverloon, Olsson, Meite, Robinson, Brunt (Kim 46), Borja Valero, Koren, Morrison (Bednar 46), Greening, Moore (Beattie 68). Subs Not Used: Kiely, Cech, Barnett, Filipe Teixeira.
Booked: Carson, Robinson.
Ref: Lee Mason (Lancashire).