Crystal Palace 0-4 Sunderland
Sunderland scored four first-half goals to thrash Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park as the Black Cats moved level on points with their Premier League relegation rivals.
Lamine Kone reacted quickest to Wayne Hennessey's spill to steer in Sunderland's opener after 10 minutes.
The visitors then scored three goals in six minutes in a stunning end to the first half as Didier Ndong struck a superb effort from 25 yards before Jermain Defoe punished lax Palace defending with two excellent finishes.
A fan got onto the pitch to confront Damien Delaney as the Palace players were booed off at half-time on a miserable afternoon for Sam Allardyce against his former club.
Sunderland easily controlled the second half to secure their first away Premier League win in six games and join Palace on 19 points.
But David Moyes' side remain bottom of the table following Hull City's 2-0 victory over Liverpool.
- Palace deserved boos - Allardyce
- Relive the action from Selhurst Park
- Reaction from all of Saturday's Premier League games
Three goals. Six minutes.
Despite Kone's early goal, Palace seemed to be starting to dictate the game. But they were stunned three times in an astonishing spell going into the break.
Ndong scored a memorable first goal for Sunderland, robbing substitute Joe Ledley easily in midfield before striding forward and curling a fine strike off the inside of the right post, giving Hennessey no chance.
Palace appeared incapable of limping through to half-time without inflicting further damage on themselves as Defoe duly capitalised with two goals in two minutes.
For both goals, the hosts afforded Adnan Januzaj far too much time and space, with the on-loan Manchester United midfielder providing a deftly-weighted pass that Defoe struck into the far corner for the first. He then provided a lovely ball from deep that Defoe ran on to and easily turned James Tomkins to fire in.
At the start of the game, Defoe was the only Sunderland player in their starting line-up to score this season and while Moyes will be heartened to see two others contribute, his 34-year-old star striker gave yet another reminder why he alone will largely determine the Black Cats' fate this season.
Defoe now has 14 Premier League goals this season out of the 24 Sunderland have scored in total as he came back to haunt the manager who he helped to keep the Black Cats up last year.
Palace could end Big Sam's record
Prior to the game, Palace boss Allardyce said he would "hate" to see a repeat performance of the defeat by Swansea in early January.
He got something far worse. They were abject at times and provided little resistance in falling to another damaging defeat by a relegation-threatened side.
The target of the fans' ire remains at the players and not Allardyce, with chants of "you're not fit to wear the shirt" accompanying a cacophony of boos and jeers.
That ill-feeling turned ugly as a fan managed to remonstrate with Delaney face-to-face at the interval before being removed, with stewards later forced to hold back groups of fans trying to get into the tunnel after the final whistle.
"I saw fear strike the players," said Allardyce. "It was a huge shock for me what I saw. The lads find it difficult to play here at the moment."
"It is not often the players get much stick but they deserved the booing. I have to apologise for the first half."
Allardyce has never been relegated from the Premier League, but he could see that record end this season if his side continue to perform like this.
Man of the match - Lamine Kone (Sunderland)
Kone makes Sunderland solid again
This was Sunderland's second straight Premier League clean sheet but their first away from home this season and, although Palace's finishing was poor, it was another impressive performance from centre-back Kone.
He took his goal well, hooking his effort inside the far post after Hennessey could only parry Kone's intitial header under pressure from Billy Jones.
But it was the way he easily handled Christian Benteke throughout that was most striking, overpowering the Belgium striker and carrying the ball into midfield to release pressure and start attacks.
Following another solid showing in the goalless draw with Tottenham in midweek, Kone, 28, looks to be back to the level that saw him coveted by other Premier League clubs last season.
'Fear gripped the players' - managers reaction
Crystal Palace boss Sam Allardyce: "Fear gripped the players and it hasn't allowed them to express their ability. I cant think it can be anything other than that.
"It is a difficult one because the fans are so good here. They come to support the club. It was a sell-out today. They are desperate for the club to do well."
Sunderland boss David Moyes: "We knew the task we would be up against but we took our opportunities when they came along. Once we got the goal you could see the confidence grew.
"I don't think I can think of many times as a manager I have been 4-0 up at half-time, I don't know if I ever have been.
"It gets us three points and more confidence, more belief. It is going to be a tough job but if we had lost it would have been much tougher. Every game is must-win."
Six in six for Defoe against Palace - match stats
- Sunderland scored as many away goals today (four) as they did in their previous nine Premier League away games combined.
- This was Sunderland's biggest margin of victory in an away Premier League game since beating Bradford City 4-0 in October 1999.
- Crystal Palace have lost eight of their past nine Premier League games at Selhurst Park, including the past five in a row.
- Jermain Defoe has netted six goals in his past six Premier League games versus Crystal Palace.
- Palace conceded four first-half goals in a Premier League match for the first time.
- Before today's win, Jack Rodwell had made 37 Premier League starts for Sunderland without a victory (D17, L20); the longest winless run of starts at a single club (from first start).
Crystal Palace travel to face Stoke at 15:00 GMT on 11 February, while Sunderland host Southampton on the same day and at the same time.