Nugent endured a miserable time at Portsmouth after his £6m move from Preston
By Mike Henson
On-loan striker David Nugent climbed off the bench to score a second-half double that extends Burnley's winning run at Turf Moor to nine games.
The hosts had been ahead through Graham Alexander's spot-kick after Anton Ferdinand's foul on Wade Elliott.
Steve Bruce's men pulled level through a cool Darren Bent finish, but Nugent met Elliott's cross with a powerful header to restore the lead.
The 24-year-old then curled home from just inside the box to wrap up the win.
Seven successive clean sheets had been the backbone of Burnley's home form but the pace of Bent and Fraizer Campbell, preferred to Kenwyne Jones, soon hinted at the frailties that have seen them concede nine in the last three games away from Turf Moor.
Campbell had a dangerous cross palmed away by Brian Jensen before losing his bearings when presented with a brief sight of goal and allowing Chris McCann to dive in and clear.
Steven Fletcher's solid but stray long-range strike had been the hosts' only attempt at goal before Alexander's pass sent Elliott hurtling down the right channel.
Centre-back Anton Ferdinand seemed to have effectively tracked the run, but then rashly clattered in and Alexander drove the resulting spot-kick straight down the middle.
Poor decision-making at the heart of the home defence almost threw away the advantage as Clarke Carlisle and Andre Bikey got in each other's way under a high ball, but a rushed finish from the unmarked Bent trailed weakly into Brian Jensen's legs.
With the speed of the opposition front two, Burnley's offside trap always felt less than watertight.
Bikey was fortunate that the referee called a halt to a Sunderland attack as Campbell dispossessed him and burst towards goal, before it eventually sprung by a neat ball from Andy Reid.
Darren Bent scored his fifth league goal of the season
With Clarke Carlisle failing to keep pace with his team-mates' advance, Bent delayed his run expertly to exploit the centre-back's lack of alertness, latch on to Reid's pass and slip the ball past Jensen.
Burnley came close to an immediate response as substitute Joey Gudjonsson, on after Chris McCann twisted his knee in a challenge with Michael Turner, flicked on Blake's corner, but none of his colleagues could get a touch as the ball crossed the face of the goal.
The second half started with optimistic shouts for a penalty for a handball against Stephen Fletcher, before Jensen had to be alert to repel a forceful shot from Campbell as Bent's dummy bought his strike partner some space in the box.
Elliott sidestepped Kieran Richardson before shooting over at the other end but his next contribution was more telling.
An inviting cross picked out Nugent who buried a muscular header beyond Craig Gordon to restore the lead.
Coyle praises 'top-class' Nugent
It was a sweet moment for the forward who turned down a move to Sunderland before agreeing a switch to Portsmouth in 2007, but then scored only three league goals in two years on the south coast.
The introduction of Jones just after the hour failed to sharpen the visitors' cutting edge, and a Lorik Cana header which drifted on to the roof of the net was as close as they came to shutting the gap.
Nugent, who made his Burnley debut from the bench against Liverpool last week, looked instilled with confidence as he scored a fine second.
Tyrone Mears' pass found Nugent with Turner and Cana at his back, but the former Preston man nonchalantly turned and and stroked the ball into the top corner.
Deserved yellow cards for frustrated challenges from Phil Bardsley and Richardson capped a dismal second half from Steve Bruce's side.
Burnley boss Owen Coyle:
"I have always believed in David's ability and that he is a top-class player.
"He has a bit of a stop-start time at Portsmouth and we are trying to give him his confidence back.
"David has come up trumps today with two terrific finishes and has benefitted from the hard work from the players who were on before he came on.
"He is a terrific acquisition for the club and I am delighted to have him."
Sunderland manager Steve Bruce:
"In the first half I was absolutely delighted with our performance.
We must play for 90 minutes - Bruce
"There was a complete contrast in our display in the second half and that has been our Achilles heel that we are yet to perform for the whole 90 minutes this season.
"We play well for chunks of games but not for the whole match.
"In the second half we got nowhere near how we played before the interval and we have got to put that right.
"We huffed and puffed after the break but did not play with the same energy we did in the first half."
90:00+2:37 The assistant referee signals for offside against Darren Bent. Brian Jensen restarts play with the free kick.
90:00+0:50 Clarke Carlisle takes the free kick.
90:00+0:50 Booking Kieran Richardson goes into the referee's book for unsporting behaviour.
90:00+0:45 Foul by Kieran Richardson on Tyrone Mears, free kick awarded.
88:44 Stephen Jordan restarts play with the free kick.
88:44 Booking Phillip Bardsley receives a caution for unsporting behaviour.
88:41 Joey Gudjonsson fouled by Phillip Bardsley, the ref awards a free kick.
85:54 Assist on the goal came from Tyrone Mears.
85:54 GOAL - David Nugent:Burnley 3 - 1 Sunderland David Nugent gets on the score sheet with a brilliant goal from the edge of the penalty area to the top left corner of the
goal. Burnley 3-1 Sunderland.
83:02 A cross is delivered by Andy Reid, Lorik Cana has a headed effort from close in and clears the bar.
80:20 A cross is delivered by Jordan Henderson.
79:34 Lorik Cana sends in a cross, save by Brian Jensen.
76:16 Andy Reid crosses the ball.
74:47 Substitution Jordan Henderson is brought on as a substitute for Fraizer Campbell.
72:15 Foul by Kenwyne Jones on Graham Alexander, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Tyrone Mears. Corner taken right-footed by
Robbie Blake from the left by-line, Michael Turner makes a clearance.
70:42 The ball is sent over by Stephen Jordan, Andy Reid makes a clearance.
70:25 Chris Eagles produces a cross.
66:32 Wade Elliott provided the assist for the goal.
66:32 GOAL - David Nugent:Burnley 2 - 1 Sunderland David Nugent grabs a headed goal from close range. Burnley 2-1 Sunderland.
66:29 The ball is swung over by Wade Elliott,
65:34 Wade Elliott takes a shot from deep inside the box clearing the bar.
Correction - 63:08 Free kick awarded for a foul by Kenwyne Jones on Tyrone Mears. Free kick taken by Brian Jensen.
63:08 Substitution Chris Eagles replaces Steven Fletcher.
63:08 Kenwyne Jones challenges Tyrone Mears unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Brian Jensen.
61:21 Brian Jensen takes the indirect free kick.
61:21 Substitution (Sunderland) makes a substitution, with Kenwyne Jones coming on for Steed Malbranque.
61:21 The assistant referee flags for offside against George McCartney.
60:07 Phillip Bardsley gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Robbie Blake. Robbie Blake takes the direct free kick.
Steven Fletcher concedes a free kick for a foul on Michael Turner. Craig Gordon takes the free kick.
59:01 Short corner worked by Robbie Blake.
56:35 Andre Bikey takes the indirect free kick.
56:35 Substitution David Nugent joins the action as a substitute, replacing Martin Paterson.
56:35 The assistant referee signals for offside against Darren Bent.
54:34 Foul by Darren Bent on Stephen Jordan, free kick awarded. Brian Jensen restarts play with the free kick.
53:53 Steven Fletcher takes a shot from a long way out which goes wide of the right-hand upright.
52:04 Centre by Andy Reid, Fraizer Campbell takes a shot. Save by Brian Jensen.
51:15 Unfair challenge on Joey Gudjonsson by Lorik Cana results in a free kick. Robbie Blake takes the direct free kick.
50:16 Effort from just outside the area by Tyrone Mears goes over the target.
50:00 Foul by Kieran Richardson on Martin Paterson, free kick awarded. Graham Alexander takes the free kick.
49:27 Andy Reid delivers the ball, Tyrone Mears gets a block in.
49:00 Phillip Bardsley produces a cross, clearance made by Clarke Carlisle.
47:42 The ball is crossed by Wade Elliott.
47:09 Centre by Stephen Jordan, blocked by Phillip Bardsley. Corner taken by Robbie Blake from the left by-line to the near post,
Phillip Bardsley manages to make a clearance.
46:52 Tyrone Mears crosses the ball, clearance made by Lorik Cana.
45:40 Corner taken by Andy Reid, Lorik Cana has an effort at goal from 12 yards. Save by Brian Jensen.
45:01 The referee starts the second half.
45:00+2:12 It is the end of the first-half.
45:00+1:18 Robbie Blake crosses the ball in from the free kick, save made by Craig Gordon.
45:00+1:18 Booking Michael Turner is booked.
45:00+1:08 Foul by Michael Turner on Steven Fletcher, free kick awarded.
42:31 Shot by Darren Bent from outside the area goes high over the crossbar.
41:52 Free kick awarded for a foul by Martin Paterson on George McCartney. Free kick taken by Craig Gordon.
41:31 Martin Paterson takes a shot. Anton Ferdinand gets a block in.
39:27 Drilled right-footed shot by Wade Elliott. Clearance by Michael Turner. Robbie Blake takes a inswinging corner to the near
post, Joey Gudjonsson has a headed effort at goal from close in which goes wide right of the goal.
38:20 Andy Reid provided the assist for the goal.
38:20 GOAL - Darren Bent:Burnley 1 - 1 Sunderland A goal is scored by Darren Bent from inside the penalty area to the bottom right corner of the goal. Burnley 1-1 Sunderland.
35:19 Foul by Fraizer Campbell on Andre Bikey, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Andre Bikey.
34:46 Unfair challenge on Martin Paterson by Phillip Bardsley results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Clarke Carlisle.
31:39 The ball is sent over by Steed Malbranque, clearance made by Clarke Carlisle.
28:47 Andy Reid takes a outswinging corner.
26:57 Indirect free kick taken by Brian Jensen.
26:57 Substitution Joey Gudjonsson comes on in place of Chris McCann.
26:57 The offside flag is raised against Darren Bent.
22:24 Effort from 35 yards by Phillip Bardsley went wide of the right-hand post.
20:53 Shot by Darren Bent. Save by Brian Jensen.
18:27 Unfair challenge on Martin Paterson by George McCartney results in a free kick. Graham Alexander produces a cross, Martin
Paterson has an effort at goal from deep inside the area missing to the right of the target.
18:19 Centre by Tyrone Mears, Michael Turner manages to make a clearance.
17:41 George McCartney crosses the ball, save made by Brian Jensen.
17:14 Corner taken by Andy Reid, clearance made by Graham Alexander.
16:22 Fraizer Campbell is caught offside. Indirect free kick taken by Andre Bikey.
Correction - 15:31 Foul by Kieran Richardson on Chris McCann, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Clarke Carlisle.
15:31 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Chris McCann by Kieran Richardson. Brian Jensen takes the free kick.
13:20 Corner taken by Andy Reid from the left by-line, The ball is delivered by Steed Malbranque.
12:15 The assist for the goal came from Wade Elliott.
12:15 GOAL - Graham Alexander:Burnley 1 - 0 Sunderland Graham Alexander scores a power penalty. Burnley 1-0 Sunderland.
11:23 Unfair challenge on Wade Elliott by Anton Ferdinand results in a Penalty.
10:16 Steven Fletcher takes a shot from just outside the penalty area clears the crossbar.
7:25 The ball is delivered by Darren Bent, Brian Jensen makes a save.
6:41 Kieran Richardson challenges Robbie Blake unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Stephen Jordan.
Correction - 4:59 Unfair challenge on Andy Reid by Wade Elliott results in a free kick. The free kick is delivered left-footed by Andy Reid
from left channel, Graham Alexander manages to make a clearance.
4:59 Free kick awarded for a foul by Wade Elliott on Andy Reid. The ball is crossed by Andy Reid, Fraizer Campbell takes a shot.
Graham Alexander gets a block in.
3:33 Wade Elliott gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Andy Reid. Andy Reid crosses the ball from the free kick left-footed
from right channel.
1:44 Centre by George McCartney.
0:00 The ref blows the whistle to start the match.
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