A VICTOR Anichebe double and a milestone strike for Jermaine Defoe inflicted a damaging 3-0 defeat upon Hull City - as the lights went out, quite literally, on Wearside.
The Stadium of Light proved anything but early in the second half, when the floodlights went out - with the game halted for around nine minutes before play re-started.
The Tigers will have wished it had not on an afternoon when they were far from illuminating and suffered a painful defeat to Sunderland, who secured their first home win in the Premier League this season - and a first clean sheet.
A sweet goal from Defoe, the 150th top-flight strike of his goal-laden career, has given Sunderland the interval advantage in the big survival ‘six-pointer’ nine minutes before the break.
Anichebe clinically fired home a killer second when play restarted, with his goal arriving in the 62nd minute after good work from Duncan Watmore and Patrick van Aanholt unhinged Hull down the left.
He then fired home a close-range second late on to seal a rare positive afternoon in front of their home supporters for Sunderland as David Moyes was left to savour a maiden home league win in charge.
Conversely, it helped secure an eighth defeat in ten matches for Mike Phelan’s Hull, with Sunderland winning in the league on home soil for the first time since May 11.
A largely grim first half sprang into life on 36 minutes when Defoe latched onto a flick on from Watmore and waltzed past several challenges before drilling the ball low past David Marshall - the sole quality moment in a low-grade opening period.
The main other incident of note arrived in the 17th minute when Watmore went down on the left hand side of the box under the challenge of Marshall, who had raced out of goal - with video replays showing that the Hull keeper had caught the home player with the visitors lucky to escape a spot-kick award.
Hull, who handed a debut to 17-year-old defender Josh Tymon, had edged the opening half an hour with Sam Clucas firing a chance over and seeing a shot parried by Jordan Pickford when well placed after cashing in on a Didier Ngong error on 20 minutes.
But it was Sunderland who conjured a breakthrough from a familiar source in Defoe - who notched the Black Cats’ seventh league goal of an underwhelming tally of just ten this season.
Anichebe fired wide soon after the home opener, with the hosts ending the half in the ascendancy, without being wholly convincing.
Moments into the second half, fitful defending from ex-Black Cats player Ahmed Elmohamady gifted the hosts with a great chance to make it 2-0 when he failed to cut out a cross from Billy Jones which was flicked on by the head of Defoe, with Watmore latching onto the loose ball, only for the alert Marshall to make an important point.
The next talking point was rather unexpected, when the floodlights failed and play was halted, much to the amusement of much of the 41,271 crowd, many of whom shone torch on their mobile phones during the delay.
The problem was fixed and play restarted, with Ryan Mason - who scored for the winner for Spurs on Wearside 14 months ago - missing a golden chance to level, dragging wastefully wide after Snodgrass’s pull-back with plenty of the goal to aim at.
It proved a key moment with Anchiebe soon doubling the Black Cats lead - as he scored in back-to-back league games for the first time since September 2012.
Pickford was called into action to make a fine acrobatic save from Snodgrass’s audacious bicycle kick while fine goalline defending from van Aanholt, twice in succession, denied Hull a way back following a scramble following a corner with Pickford having initially made a fine close-range block in a crowded box.
Sunderland then made the game safe when Defoe supplied the pass and he blasted the ball home at the near post six minutes from time.
Home defender Papy Djilobodji was sent off in stoppage time for a second yellow, but the hosts held out with ease.
For Mike Phelan, it was an afternoon which reminded him of a previous trip to Wearside with former club Manchester United in 2010, during which the dressing room was showered with sewage after a leak from a soil pipe brought the ceiling down.
Phelan said: “A few things seem to happen to me at this football club when I come. I came here with one club and we had issues in the dressing room one year, then the lights go out... Maybe it’s just me, maybe I should stay away from this club for a while.
“There was no doubt about the game. The referee conducted himself right. He was a little bit concerned about the ground being only partially lit, but at the end we needed to get the game going and the supporters demanded that.
“It probably changed the game a little bit at one point.”
Phelan said: “It was all the emotions in one game today, frustration from the point of view that we didn’t take the opportunities that came our way - and there were quite a few from our point of view - attacking-wise.
“But then the annoyance. The disappointment is that you lose a game 3-0, which is very difficult to defend with a team that you believe in and actually probably over all deserved a little bit better.”
Sunderland: Pickford; Jones, Kone, Djilobodji, van Aanholt; Denayer (O’Shea), Watmore, Ndong, McNair, (Love) Anichebe, Defoe. Substitutes unused: Mannone, Khazri, Manquillo, Januzaj, Gooch.
Hull City: Marshall; Elmohamady, Dawson, Davies, Tymon (Bowen); Livermore; Snodgrass, Henriksen Clucas, Mason (Meyler); Mbokani. Substitutes unused: Jakupovic, Maguire, Huddlestone, Weir, Olley.
Referee: L Mason (Lancashire).