Paulo di Canio earned his first win as Sunderland manager as The Black Cats eased their relegation worries by securing their first win at St James' Park for 14 years in the Tyne-Wear derby against Newcastle United.
Stephane Sessegnon put the visitors ahead after 27 minutes but Newcastle felt they should have been level after the break after Papiss Cisse's goal was incorrectly ruled out for offside.
Di Canio's side took full advantage as Adam Johnson and James Vaughan scored spectacularly in the closing minutes to send Sunderland three points clear of the drop zone, two points behind their nearest rivals, whose own relegation fears continue to linger.
The biggest Tyne-Wear derby of recent years saw a Newcastle side who exited the Europa League in mid-week face a Sunderland team whose new manager Di Canio was in search of his first win since controversially replacing Martin O'Neill.
The Italian had seen his side fall to defeat against Chelsea last weekend despite a resolute performance, and there was a notable improvement in the early stages with Newcastle's Steven Taylor fortunate not to concede a penalty after he hauled Danny Graham to the floor.
The hosts were struggling to discover any continuity in attack and they fell behind just before the half hour as Jonas Guiterrez gave the ball away to James McLean, who fed Sessegnon and the Benin international rifled past a despairing Tim Krul.
Carlos Cuellar should have doubled the lead but Krul, who was later forced off injured, kept out his point-blank header before a rare Cisse chance saw Seb Larsson clear the danger just before the break.
Shola Ameobi was introduced at half-time and Newcastle should have been rewarded for their increased attacking intent on the hour but Cisse was wrongly adjudged offside from Moussa Sissoko's flick.
Sunderland's good fortune galvanised them as they struck a pivotal second; Johnson ran at the heart of the Toon back four and curled a beauty past substitute goalkeeper Rob Elliot.
The icing was put on Sunderland's first win at Newcastle since 1999 with a cracking finish from substitute Vaughan, who smashed a left-footed effort beyond a motionless Elliot, despite being in an offside position, as the away side delivered a signficant statement of intent on their rivals' own patch.