Sunderland didn't stay in the relegation zone for long. After being dropped into the bottom three thanks to defeat against Chelsea last weekend, the Black Cats bounced into 15th place with an 3-0 home win over Reading, going ahead early and never looking back.
It took the hosts all of three minutes to go 1-0 up. Adam Federici's woeful punch on a corner kick failed to see the ball cleared properly, and James McClean hared after it, the winger eventually producing a perfect finish on the turn that bounced into the bottom corner.
Reading attempted an immediate reply, and actually threatened Simon Mignolet's goal several times while the score was 1-0, and a Royals equaliser looked just as likely as Sunderland doubling their advantage. Ultimately, however, it was the latter which came to pass, thanks to a brilliant goal from Steven Fletcher.
The Black Cats were criticised for shelling out 12 million on the striker over the summer, but he showed remarkable skill in backheeling Danny Rose's incisive cross in at the far post while under severe pressure from Alex Pearce. That second goal, coming in the 28th minute, effectively killed off the game, allowing Sunderland to sit back and soak up Reading's rather ineffective attacks for the remainder of the 90 minutes.
The Royals did manage to control the play in the second half, but that's only because Martin O'Neill's side was letting them. Mignolet was tested a couple of times, but life was ultimately pretty comfortable for Sunderland, who got the third goal their display merited when Stephane Sessegnon rounded Federici and slotted home in injury time.