Darren Bent scored a hat-trick as Sunderland claimed their first league win of 2010 against 10-man Bolton.
The Black Cats got off to the perfect start when Fraizer Campbell side-footed them ahead after just 41 seconds.
Bolton never recovered and fell further behind early in the second half when Bent ran through to finish well.
Bolton's Sam Ricketts was dismissed for the foul that led to Bent's second from the penalty spot before the England striker slotted home again late on.
Having started the season so positively, Sunderland's confidence has been steadily eroded by a run of 14 league matches without a victory, which has seen them slip dangerously close to the bottom three.
However, the Black Cats have an abundance of talent in their ranks, not least of which is their front three of Kenwyne Jones, Bent and Campbell.
If Sunderland are to build on this vital victory and avoid further dalliances with relegation this attacking trio will be vital.
Former Manchester United forward Campbell demonstrated as much with the quickest goal in the Premier League this season, providing his struggling side with the perfect platform, from which Bent could later emphatically hammer home the point.
Midfielder Lorik Cana picked up the ball following a Bolton clearance before sending over a high looping ball to the back post where Campbell had found plenty of space for a side-foot volley past Jussi Jaaskelainen.
Bolton came into this game having claimed the first back-to-back victories of Owen Coyle's tenure as manager with wins over Wolves and West Ham.
However, the early goal was a huge blow to what is clearly still a side with brittle confidence and whilst they battled hard they never recovered from falling behind.
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