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Paolo Di Canio launched his Tyne-Wear derby career in spectacular style as Sunderland eased past Newcastle United to ease their fears of relegation from the Barclays Premier League.
Sunderland, who arrived on Tyneside without a win in nine Barclays Premier League games, were too good for their hosts, who were never able to muster the intensity they needed to deny their neighbours the points. Stephane Sessegnon blasted the visitors into a first-half lead and stunning strikes by Adam Johnson and substitute David Vaughan after the break ensured there was no way back for Alan Pardew's men, who are now only two points better off than their derby rivals.
Di Canio dropped to his knees in celebration on the sidelines when Johnson's 74th-minute effort hit the back of the net, and it was the travelling fans among a crowd of 52,355 making all the noise as Sunderland won at St James' Park for the first time since November 2000.
Sunderland made the short trip up the A19 having taken three points in a derby encounter only once in their previous 16 attempts. But it was they who made much of the running.
Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa unwittingly blocked Graham's back-post header from a Johnson corner, but the Magpies' defences were finally breached with 27 minutes gone. Jonas Gutierrez, who had been asked to play at left-back, found himself on the opposite side of the pitch and having given the ball away, failed to dispossess Sessegnon as he cut inside towards goal and unleashed a skidding shot which sped past goalkeeper Tim Krul and into the bottom corner.
Newcastle might have been level within seconds when Papiss Cisse turned Phil Bardsley inside the penalty area, only to see the advancing Simon Mignolet block his effort. The Belgian came to Sunderland's rescue again two minutes later when he clawed Cisse's left-foot snap-shot out of his bottom corner after Gutierrez had squared.
The visitors would have increased their lead four minutes before the break had Krul not managed to block Carlos Cuellar's downward header from a Sebastian Larsson corner, but Mignolet had to tip away Gutierrez's injury-time cross as the half drew to a close.
Shola Ameobi, who had scored seven goals in 13 previous derbies, replaced Yoann Gouffran after the break and the initial signs were promising. But as Newcastle committed men to the attack, they left space in behind and Johnson might have done better after latching on to Mathieu Debuchy's weak 52nd-minute header and underhitting his attempted lob with Krul off his line.
The Newcastle goalkeeper departed prematurely five minutes later after landing awkwardly when challenging for a high ball. After the match it was revealed Krul had dislocated his shoulder and will miss the rest of the season. He was replaced by Rob Elliot, but it was opposite number Mignolet who was called upon once again to palm away Cisse's 60th-minute effort.
Newcatle got the ball in the net when Sylvain Marveaux's free-kick was turned back across goal and Cisse smashed it into the roof of the net, but the forward was deemed to be offside.
Pardew swiftly replaced Yohan Cabaye with Hatem Ben Arfa, and he might have dragged the home side back into it 19 minutes from time when Debuchy returned Marveaux's cross back across goal, but he could not keep his header down.
Cisse fired another effort wide from Moussa Sissoko's cross two minutes later with Newcastle pressing, but Johnson dashed their hopes when he steered a superb left-foot shot past Elliot to make it 2-0.
There was worse to come for the home side with eight minutes remaining when Vaughan blasted a swerving left-foot drive high past Elliot and inside the far post to complete the Black Cats' dream afternoon.
Newcastle manager Alan Pardew: "It looked like a team that had worked all week on the opposition and were fresh, and the other team looked tired - that was our team.
"We were tired and lost our shape a little bit at times and were off the cuff. We were just tired in the mind and in the body. A game like that, you can't be. It took its toll on us this week.
"With that in mind, we still should have played better. It's a very ugly day for us and from the staff and from my players, I apologise to our fans."
Sunderland head coach Paolo Di Canio: "They were warriors. You can't be more proud than this. They did everything, they gave everything, they left all of their energy on the field.
"It was a fair result at 3-0, so I am very happy for them because they really suffered during the game. It was hard because we knew that we had a team in front of us with fantastic ability and quality.
"They worked through the strategy in a perfect way and it was a good result. It was an important result and they deserved it, so I am happy. It means that what I thought when I signed, there is quality in this team. There is absolute quality and it is important that we use it in the right way and play together as a team."
“We have to celebrate, but after tonight look to recover our energy. We scored three goals, but before we scored the first goal we gave them a chance to score. We have to avoid that. That has to be the philosophy for now until the end of the season and for the future.
"This is only one result. In terms of the result for this area, it is an incredible step. But in terms of the table, it is only a small step to try and get this club out of the relegation zone. We have to be intelligent because the main job is not done."
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|27 Apr 2013||v Liverpool (H)|
|04 May 2013||v West Ham (A)|
|12 May 2013||v QPR (A)|
|19 May 2013||v Arsenal (H)|
|15 Mar 2014||v Fulham (A)|