Managerless Sunderland got back on the winning trail at the first attempt following Tony Mowbray's departure as they deservedly beat West Bromwich Albion.
Dan Ballard and Dan Neil scored the goals at the Stadium of Light as the hosts won for the first time in four games.
Substitute Brandon Thomas-Asante pulled one back for the Baggies late on, just two minutes after Neil had run clear on the break to make it 2-0.
But Albion had nothing more to give as they succumbed to a second successive 2-1 defeat as Sunderland's players gave the perfect response to Monday's surprise sacking of Mowbray.
The Baggies were upset by injuries, without skipper Jed Wallace for a second game running, and having lost Matt Phillips for four months.Championship table
They were at least able to bring back top scorer John Swift for only his second start in two months, but they were also without Okay Yokuslu, for whom Jayson Molumby came in, and boss Carlos Corberan opted to make two further changes, swapping Kyle Bartley and former Sunderland striker Josh Maja for Semi Ajayi and Thomas-Asante respectively.
It was an unhappy return for Maja, who had to be helped off in only the 36th minute following a poor challenge from Ballard, for which the Sunderland man was booked.
Sunderland caretaker boss Mike Dodds made two changes for his first game in charge since briefly filling in for two matches between Lee Johnson's sacking and Alex Neil's appointment in February 2022.
He brought back Patrick Roberts in place of Mason Burstow, while Jobe Bellingham came in for Abdoullah Ba.Mike Dodds is in his second stint as Sunderland caretaker boss
Bellingham was involved in the first half's key moment, when he appeared to have cashed in on sloppy Albion defending to put Sunderland ahead from close range, only for the goal to be incorrectly chalked off for offside.
Roberts nearly made a breakthrough midway through the second half when his right-foot shot hit the post and Jack Clarke's follow-up was brilliantly tipped wide by Albion keeper Alex Palmer.
But Sunderland finally got the breakthrough on 69 minutes when newly arrived substitute Alex Pritchard's free-kick was headed in powerfully at the near post by Ballard - only his third goal for the club and his first at the Stadium of Light.
The points looked safe when Sunderland broke quickly to double their lead.
Conor Townsend made a mess of a lofted clearance and slipped, the alert Pritchard latched onto the loose ball to send Neil clear and he kept his head to coolly clip the ball over Palmer.
Just two minutes later Albion were handed a lifeline when Thomas-Asante pulled a goal back from close range - but that was all Corberan's men could muster.
Formation 4-1-4-11Patterson2Huggins13O'Nien5BallardBooked at 34mins32Hume39Ekwah10RobertsSubstituted forMayendaat 81'minutes22AouchicheSubstituted forPritchardat 62'minutes24Neil20Clarke7Bellingham
Formation 4-2-3-124Palmer2FurlongBooked at 90mins5BartleySubstituted forAjayiat 75'minutes4Kipré3Townsend8MolumbyBooked at 54minsSubstituted forChalobahat 60'minutesBooked at 81mins27Mowatt11DianganaSubstituted forThomas-Asanteat 60'minutesBooked at 90mins19SwiftSubstituted forÁvila Gordónat 75'minutesBooked at 90mins17SarmientoBooked at 51mins9MajaSubstituted forFellowsat 36'minutes
Match ends, Sunderland 2, West Bromwich Albion 1.
Second Half ends, Sunderland 2, West Bromwich Albion 1.
Pipa (West Bromwich Albion) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Dan Ballard (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Pipa (West Bromwich Albion).
Darnell Furlong (West Bromwich Albion) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Alex Pritchard (Sunderland) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Darnell Furlong (West Bromwich Albion).
Offside, Sunderland. Jack Clarke is caught offside.
Corner, Sunderland. Conceded by Semi Ajayi.
Brandon Thomas-Asante (West Bromwich Albion) is shown the yellow card.
Jack Clarke (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Nathaniel Chalobah (West Bromwich Albion).
Goal! Sunderland 2, West Bromwich Albion 1. Brandon Thomas-Asante (West Bromwich Albion) header from very close range to the top right corner. Assisted by Pipa with a cross.
Foul by Jack Clarke (Sunderland).
Tom Fellows (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Goal! Sunderland 2, West Bromwich Albion 0. Daniel Neil (Sunderland) right footed shot from outside the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Alex Pritchard with a through ball following a fast break.
Corner, West Bromwich Albion. Conceded by Daniel Neil.
Attempt blocked. Jeremy Sarmiento (West Bromwich Albion) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked.
Foul by Eliezer Mayenda (Sunderland).