Sunderland brushed aside some of the negativity in the build-up to the visit of Stoke City with a 3-1 Championship win at the Stadium of Light.
Michael Beale had urged fans to be more positive and get behind the team after a three-game losing streak, but his preparations were hampered by Alex Pritchard's decision to withdraw his services and intent to leave just a day before.
Amid the turbulence, Beale's players gave the home support in a 41,000-plus crowd plenty to cheer once Mason Burstow had put them ahead inside the six-yard box just before half-time.
Abdoullah Ba crashed in a second shortly after the break, following good work on the left from Jack Clarke, and scorer turned provider when he cut back for Pierre Ekwah to thump home.
Jenson Seelt's own-goal gave Stoke some late hope, but they were unable to further dent Sunderland's rearguard as the points stayed on Wearside.
It marks Steven Schumacher's third defeat since taking over the Potters following Alex Neil's exit.
More to follow.