Sunderland eased to their first win in five Premier League games as they overcame a disappointing Reading side 3-0 on Tuesday.
Goals from James McClean, Steven Fletcher and Stephane Sessegnon saw Martin O’Neill’s side climb out of the relegation zone and into 15th place.
McClean put the hosts one ahead via a precise strike after just two minutes, before Fletcher extended the deficit with a masterful backheel.
O’Neill’s men were briefly troubled in the early stages of the second half but saw out the game comfortably and Sessegnon ensured a memorable finish with a well-taken goal in the dying moments.
Sunderland got off to a fantastic start and went ahead after Adam Federici miscued his punch from a corner, McClean on hand to collect the stray clearance and slot home from the edge of the area.
Sebastian Larsson and Adam Johnson spurned chances to extend the lead as Sunderland pressed home their dominance.
The pressure paid off with 28 minutes gone as Danny Rose fired the ball across the area, Fletcher fooling everyone with a sublime flick for a 2-0 lead.
Reading threatened early on in the second half as Noel Hunt blazed a shot over from the edge of the area.
The visitors’ improvement continued as Simon Mignolet was tested for the first time from a Nicky Shorey free-kick, and centre-back Alex Pearce headed over the bar from the ensuing corner.
With 20 minutes remaining, Sunderland looked set to seal the points but a Sessegnon snapshot produced an impressive stop from Federici.
Federici’s opposite number was then called into action as a Noel Hunt header forced another excellent save from Mignolet.
Sessengon capped proceedings off after receiving a long ball and rounding Federici to add polish to the vital win.