Tottenham earned a win at the Stadium of Light thanks to a quick double of goals in the second half, cancelling out John O'Shea's opener for the hosts.
A quick pair of goals from Tottenham in the second half was enough to give them a win against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.
Sunderland started the brighter of the two teams, but as a first half of few chances wore on, soon found themselves forced back by Spurs, who had the best chances throug Jermain Defoe's blocked effort. Yet five minutes from time, with the Black Cats struggling to get out of their own half, it was the hosts who took the lead. A bad mistake from Kyle Walker led to John O'Shea smashing home a rebound after Sebastian Larsson's free-kick.
It seemed a typically frustrating afternoon for Tottenham, who had dominated but found themselves behind, but they were able to make amends soon after the second half kicked off courtesy of a bad spell by Carlos Cuellar, the defender first chopping down Aaron Lennon to give a way a free kick and a yellow card, and then heading the resultant free-kick past his own keeper.
Tottenham didn't have long to wait until they were in the lead, again courtesy of some kamikaze defending from Sunderland. Matthew Kilgallon gave the ball away to Aaron Lennon, who went past John O'Shea with ease and slotted the ball past Simon Mignolet. In the space of a couple of minutes, Tottenham had come from behind to be 2-1 up.
Tottenham looked to make the most of their spell and increase their advantage, but were denied by some good goalkeeping from Mignolet, the Belgian keeper somehow keeping Jermain Defoe's finish from six yards out after Gareth Bale had set him up.
There was controversy to follow as Bale was later booked for diving after he went down in the area under Craig Gardner's challenge, although replays showed that there was significant contact. The yellow card will mean Bale will have to serve a suspension for Tottenham's next Premier League game.
It was a fine victory for Tottenham, who are now embarking on a strong run and looking like settling in the Champions League places. For Sunderland, it was too much of the same failings, a lack of creativity combined with defensive errors contributing to their downfall. Martin O'Neill has more work ahead of him than first appeared.