Ten-man Sunderland secured their first Premier League win of the season as Victor Anichebe produced a south coast masterclass against AFC Bournemouth.
Making his first top-flight start for the club, the 28-year-old was a one-man wrecking ball throughout the 90 minutes and he grabbed a first-class equaliser following Dan Gosling’s well-worked opener.
The Nigerian’s strike was the catalyst for Sunderland who bossed the next half hour, but they had the wind sucked from their sails on 60 minutes as Steven Pienaar was sent off.
Within an instant the complexion of the game changed as the Cherries cranked up the pressure and finally escaped their defensive third, but the Black Cats battled hard and worked themselves to the bone.
And they were so richly rewarded with 20 minutes remaining, Anichebe felled in the box allowing Defoe to do what his does best and wrap up three points with his 149thPremier League goal.
The strike duo stole the headlines, but it was a team effort on and off the pitch as 1,200 Sunderland fans returned to Wearside with a spring in their step.
David Moyes named an attacking starting XI with summer signing Anichebe partnering captian Jermain Defoe at the Vitality Stadium.
Papy Djilobodji and Paddy McNair also came into the reckoning with John O’Shea and Jack Rodwell missing out due to injury, as Jason Denayer and Adnan Januzaj were named on the bench.
Both sides showed their intent from the off although it took ten minutes for the first chance of the game, with Harry Arter’s 20-yard drive stinging the palms of Jordan Pickford.
60 seconds later, the Washington-born stopper was beaten.
The Black Cats failed to ease the pressure and the Cherries worked the ball quickly to fashion an opening, allowing Gosling to cushion the ball into the net from close range following an inch-perfect cross by Adam Smith.
An opening followed by the Black Cats failed to take advantage as Patrick van Aanholt’s cross was blocked, with Lamine Kone inexplicably caught in possession by Joshua King who fed Junior Stanislas.
The former West Ham United youngster was forced, wide, however and as the side netting rippled the travelling red and white army – and the Ivorian – breathed a huge sigh of relief.
Billy Jones once again impressed and he combined well with Duncan Watmore on numerous occasions, as the England under-21 international saw multiple crosses dealt with by the Cherries defence.
With 26 minutes played Pickford prevented the home side from taking a 2-0 lead as Eddie Howe’s men were once again allowed time and space on the edge of the box.
Stanislas was the architect sliding a superb ball into the path of King who broke the offside trap, but Pickford was quick of the mark to block the striker’s venomous drive to safety.
Talking of venomous drives, Sunderland levelled on 33 minutes as Anichebe smashed home his first goal for the club.
The Nigerian was like a one-man battering ram in the opening period and he was duly rewarded as parity was restored, as he shrugged off an ailing defender before slamming the ball into the top corner.
And it turned the tide of the game with the Cherries rocking and the natives restless, as the Black Cats ended the opening 45 minutes firmly in command despite Watmore seeing an effort chalked off for offside.
Under pressure and against the ropes, Bournemouth made a change at the break as Benik Afobe entered the fray in place of record signing Jordan Ibe.
But the Cherries remained under the cosh as Anichebe continued to bully their beleaguered backline and the red and white army urged their team forward.
Wave after wave of attack crashed against the south coast side but they remained dangerous on the break, with Djilobodji forced into a key interception seconds after his header was blocked at the opposite end.
Didier Ndong was next to try his luck as Arthur Boruc parried the Gabon international’s strike, but as the 60-minute mark approached Pickford was the man of the hour as Wilshere was denied.
Seconds later the Black Cats suffered a seismic blow as Pienaar was sent off for a second yellow card.
The game was changed in an instant and the Black Cats were backed into a corner, but they continued to fight valiantly against the gung-ho Cherries as Stanislas grazed the post and Wilshere fired wide.
With 20 minutes remaining Denayer returned from injury in an attempt to quell the one-way traffic, and seconds later parity was shattered.
But it wasn’t the Cherries who were celebrating as man mountain Anichebe powered into the box and the referee pointed to the spot.
Defoe engineered the opportunity before Watmore picked out the Nigerian, so it was only fitting that the club’s top scorer had the final say as he crashed home a penalty and sparked wild celebrations in the away end.
The Cherries came again and many will wonder how they failed to find a way through, but those in attendance will know exactly why.
Jordan Pickford, he’s one of our own.
Bournemouth: Boruc, Francis, Cook, Gosling, Arter (Mousset 76), Daniels, Smith, King, Stanislas (Fraser 82), Wilshere, Ibe (Afobe 46).
Subs not used: Federici, Ake, Pugh, Mings.
Sunderland: Pickford, Jones, Djilobodji, Kone, van Aanholt, McNair (Denayer 72), Ndong, Pienaar, Watmore (Love 90), Anichebe, Defoe (Gooch 90).
Subs not used: Mika, Khazri, Manquillo, Januzaj.