Sunderland secured their first win in 15 Premier League football games when they beat the Bolton Wanderers 4-nil, thanks to a hat-trick from striker Darren Bent.
Sunderland, who were sixth in the league in October, went into the game just two places above the relegation zone with their last win coming against Arsenal in November.
But the win was never in doubt against Bolton, with Fraizer Campbell scoring after just 41 seconds and Bent's second-half trebble more than securing the victory.
Meanwhile Birmingham City reversed last weekend's FA Cup quarter-final loss at Portsmouth with a 2-1 away win.
Cameron Jerome put Birmingham ahead after 16 minutes and extended their lead with a second goal second shortly before halftime.
Portsmouth scored during injury time for a consolation for the bottom club.