Sunderland produced a performance fit for the king as Hull City were royally beaten at the Stadium of Light on Charlie Hurley Day.
The club’s Player of the Century received a rousing ovation as he took to the field pre-match alongside his 1963-64 team-mates, with the red and white army bringing a tear to his eye as they saluted the Wearside great.
And they weren’t the only tears of joy on an emotionally-charged afternoon at the SoL, with Jermain Defoe’s 150th Premier League goal sending the Lads on their way to back-to-back wins.
Hull City fought hard in a second period which included a 10-minute blackout following floodlight failure, but Jordan Pickford was in scintillating form and, at one point, channelled his inner Jimmy Montgomery to produce the second-best double save Wearside has ever seen.
Victor Anichebe’s thumping finish made it 2-0 on 61 minutes and the cult hero’s emergence continued late on as his second of the game delivered a knockout blow.
Sunderland were forced into one change ahead of the game due to Steven Pienaar’s suspension, with Belgium international Jason Denayer coming into the starting XI.
Vito Mannone was named on the bench following a return to fitness, with Wahbi Khazri, John O’Shea and Adnan Januzaj also named among the substitutes.
Hull City conjured up the first attempt of the match following a heart-warming pre-match ceremony dedicated to Hurley, with Dieumerci Mbokani drilling a shot into the near post where Pickford saved.
Moments later space opened up for the Black Cats as Anichebe bulldozed his way into the box, but the loose ball fell in the Tigers’ favour as Defoe looked to pounce.
And as the opening exchanges came to a close the visitors remained on top with Sam Clucas firing over from 12 yards.
The Black Cats needed a lift and the crowd were on their feet after 14 minutes as Didier Ndong engineered an excellent opening, slotting the ball towards Anichebe before Billy Jones’ follow-up was blocked behind.
Anichebe continued to toy with the Hull defence and they were powerless to prevent the Nigerian from surging towards goal before sending an effort whistling over the top.
With the wind in their sails controversy followed, as Watmore squeezed between the ball and David Marshall before being toppled by the ‘keeper who failed to connect with the ball.
Replays indicated a clear mistake from referee Lee Mason with the England under-21 international flicking the ball out of Marshall’s reach, and the stopper remained at the centre of the action after flapping at a cross which narrowly evaded Anichebe.
With 35 minutes played, the moment came.
Watmore flicked the ball into the path of Defoe and an expectant Stadium of Light rose to their feet, with the striker skipping away from two defenders before burying the ball past Marshall.
Wearside exploded and Defoe was swamped by his team-mates as he became the just the eighth player to reach 150 top-flight games.
Anichebe could have doubled the Black Cats’ advantage soon after, dragging a shot wide from 20 yards, but it remained 1-0 at the break as 45 minutes stood between Sunderland and a second consecutive win.
Their quest for three points was almost made infinitely easier as City stuttered out of the blocks, but Marshall ensured the Tigers remained in the hunt producing a point-blank save to deny Watmore.
With 50 minutes on the clock play ground to a halt as darkness gripped the Stadium of Light, but it did little to dampen home spirits and after topping up the metre play resumed following a ten-minute break.
Ryan Mason, who was linked with a move to Wearside in the summer, spurned an opening following the restart and soon after the midfielder was made to pay.
Anichebe, doing what he does best, dominated his marker before turning in a flash and fizzing the ball beyond Marshall.
Unstoppable, powerful and dominant, the former Everton striker lashed home his second late on and wrapped up a memorable win for Moyes’ side, who saw Papy Djilobodji dismissed in the 89th minute, as they continued to march up the Premier League table.
Sunderland: Pickford, Jones, Djilobodji, Kone, van Aanholt, Denayer (O’Shean 83), McNair (Love 88), Ndong, Watmore, Anichebe, Defoe.
Substitutes: Mannone, Khazri, Manquillo, Januzaj, Gooch.