JERMAIN DEFOE’S stunner sealed the Wear-Tyne derby and gave Sunderland a priceless fifth successive victory over Newcastle United.
Derby debutant Defoe’s magnificent 20-yard volley equalled the record of five wins on the spin in the fixture - set by Newcastle nine years ago - and more importantly saw Sunderland earn a big win in the fight against survival.
Like Paolo Di Canio and Gus Poyet before him, new Sunderland boss Dick Advocaat was able to savour a victory over Newcastle in his second game at the helm, to move the Black Cats three points clear of the drop zone.
It was thoroughly deserved from Sunderland, who were the dominant side, even though they didn’t create an abundance of chances.
Defoe’s volley sealed it after a first half Sunderland had failed to make the most of the half-chances which came their way, despite Newcastle offering measly resistance.
Sunderland continued in the same vein after the break, although Newcastle could have snatched an ill-deserved late point, only for Ayoze Perez to volley over the bar from six yards out.
Jack Rodwell was ruled out through a hamstring problem, with Lee Cattermole taking the £10million midfielder’s place in the starting XI after completing a two-game ban.
Santiago Vergini replaced the injured Wes Brown at centre-half, while Billy Jones was preferred to Anthony Reveillere at right-back.
Newcastle made just one change with Jonas Gutierrez coming in for Vurnon Anita.
Sunderland began the game at 100mph and put Newcastle on the back foot, with the Magpies enjoying a ninth minute let-off.
Jones met Seb Larsson’s left wing corner at the back post and put it first-time into a crowded six-yard box, where Gutierrez just managed to steer it over his own crossbar.
Sunderland went close from another set piece in the 22nd minute when Connor Wickham’s header from Larsson’s delivery clipped the outside of the post.
Jermain Defoe should have done much better eight minutes before the interval when Steven Fletcher’s hooked pass set the striker free down the left.
However, Defoe’s second touch was awful and allowed Jack Colback to clear behind.
Moments later, Wickham collected Jordi Gomez’s raking cross at the back post, but shot straight at Tim Krul from a narrow angle.
On the stroke of half-time, Sunderland got the goal that their first half dominance deserved... and in some style.
Costel Pantilimon’s punt downfield was flicked on by the excellent Fletcher and Defoe met it on the volley, left-footed 20 yards out, and the ball rocketed into the top corner with Krul helpless.
HALF-TIME Sunderland 1 Newcastle 0
Sunderland had a half-chance within four minutes of the restart when Gomez lifted the ball to the unmarked Fletcher, 12 yards out, in the middle of the goal.
But Fletcher lost his balance and could only send a harmless half-volley straight at Krul.
The Black Cats were able to continue in the same vein as the first half though, dominating possession, looking the more dangerous side and winning the 50-50s.
Van Aanholt sent a half-volley into the side netting in the 69th minute after he was set free by Defoe’s delicately-weighted pass down the left-hand side of the area.
However, van Aanholt should have pulled it back, with Fletcher in space in the middle.
Fletcher was then picked out by Defoe, in space just inside the box, but he couldn’t get it out from under his feet and sent a left-footed effort over the bar.
Larsson was a whisker away in the 75th minute with a free-kick from 25 yards which curled inches past the post.
Pantilimon was forced into his first save of the game three minutes later when Ayoze Perez laid off to Remy Cabella on the edge of the area, but the midfielder’s shot was pushed away to his right by the Sunderland keeper.
Mike Williamson produced an excellent last-gasp block with six minutes to go after van Aanholt had surged down the left-hand side of the area and picked out Larsson.
The Swede brought it under control and hit a right-foot shot, but Williamson deflected it just past the post.
Newcastle should have snatched an equaliser with three minutes to go, only for Perez to produce a glaring miss.
Ryan Taylor’s right-wing corner was flicked on at the near post and fell beautifully for Perez six yards out, but he sent his volley over the bar.
FULL-TIME Sunderland 1 Newcastle 0
SUNDERLAND: Pantilimon, Jones, O’Shea, Vergini, van Aanholt, Cattermole, Larsson, Gomez, Wickham, Defoe (Johnson 80), Fletcher. Subs not used: Mannone, Bridcutt, Reveillere, Graham, Coates, Buckley. Booked: Vergini (39), Gomez (61), van Aanholt (66), Wickham (77), Larsson (81)
NEWCASTLE: Krul, Taylor, Williamson, Janmaat, Colback, Gutierrez, Sissoko, Gouffran (Riviere 58), Ameobi (Armstrong 87), Cabella, Perez. Subs not used: Elliot, Anita, Obertan, Abeid, Kemen. Booked: Taylor (41), Colback (62)