Sunderland 4 Hull City 1
Hull boss Phil Brown may have felt somewhat aggrieved at the scoreline, after all the Tigers matched their hosts for the first half - going in level at the break.
But there could be no argument about the team most likely to win it in the second half.
In the opening 45 minutes the action was very much end to end, although the Black Cats were in front as early as the 12th minute.
Sunderland won a corner and Andy Reid whipped the ball into the 18-yard box. City's Craig Fagan missed the ball with his head but then made a clear connection with his hand and referee Martin Atkinson had no hesitation in pointing to the spot.
Up stepped £12million man Darren Bent, the striker firing a powerful shot into the bottom left-hand corner of the net.
Hull keeper Boaz Myhill guessed the right way, but he was unable to get anything on the ball.
This should have signalled a period of dominance from the hosts, but Hull refused to lie down and while Craig Gordon was never really forced to make a save of any real note, the visitors did end the half on level pegging.
Geovanni swung in a corner on 39 minutes and Kamil Zayatte rose virtually unchallenged to head in off the post.
At that stage the draw would have been a fair result, but Sunderland had other ideas and came out firing on all cylinders after half-time.
Their efforts were rewarded on 49 minutes, although to be fair they could have been 2-1 up before then.
Moments earlier Bent broke down the left and squared the ball for Frazier Campbell, only for Myhill to get there fractionally ahead of him and prevent a certain goal.
Seconds later Bent went down in the area after tangling with Andy Dawson and the referee waived away appeals for a penalty.
However, Sunderland refused to be denied and when Phil Bardsley's cross evaded everyone in the middle of the area, it fell kindly for Reid who drilled a low shot into the net to make it 2-1.
Any hopes of City getting back on level terms were extinguished on 66 minutes as Bent got his second of the afternoon.
A lofted ball by Anton Ferdinand found the Sunderland striker down the left channel. Zayatte appealed for offside, oblivious to the fact that team-mate Ibrahima Sonko was playing everyone on.
Bent raced into the area with Campbell alongside him, but this time he declined to play in his strike partner and fired past the legs of Myhill to put Sunderland 3-1 up.
To add insult to injury for the Tigers, former City defender Michael Turner, signed from Hull by the Black Cats on transfer deadline day, headed in the fourth.
Replays showed there was a slice of luck about the finish, Turner heading on to Zayatte before the ball bounced into the net.
Sunderland boss Steve Bruce won't be too worried about how any of the goals, arrived while Brown will be bitterly disappointed that his return to his native North East ended in such a severe scoreline.