Brown, Welsh and Arca score in second-half fight-back.
Goals from Andy Welsh, Chris Brown and Julio Arca earned Sunderland their seventh consecutive win as the Black Cats went on to win the Championship in 2004-05.
Manager Mick McCarthy had just been awarded the Manager of the Month award for March after guiding Sunderland to four wins from four games, but he didn’t get the start he wanted.
Danny Shittu headed Lee Cook’s corner past Thomas Myhre in the Sunderland goal on 22 minutes.
The Black Cats equalised early in the second-half, Stephen Wright lifted the ball towards Marcus Bignot, who headed down for Welsh to strike the equaliser with his left foot from 10 yards out.
Sunderland took the lead on the hour mark, Marcus Stewart linked up well with Dean Whitehead and he passed swiftly to Brown and the substitute struck the ball cleanly past Simon Royce.
The visitors grabbed a third when Stewart powered towards goal and, although it looked as if he took the ball too far, the ball broke free to Arca who fired into an empty net.
Sunderland: Myhre, Wright, Breen, Caldwell, Whitehead, Robinson, Arca, Whitley (Brown, 42), Welsh (Collins, 58), Stewart (Thornton, 77), Elliot.
Subs not used: Alnwick, Bridges.