The Black Cats goalkeeper gifted Shane Long the simplest of opportunities to fire into an empty net two minutes before the break when he allowed Chris Brunt's pass to squirm from his grasp.
Steve Clarke's men were already leading through Zoltan Gera's superb strike on the half-hour, and although the home side launched a fightback when Craig Gardner's 73rd-minute free-kick was deflected home, substitute Romelu Lukaku's late penalty looked to have sealed a fourth successive win for the first time in the Premier League.
Stephane Sessegnon reduced the deficit from close range with three minutes remaining. But, after Lukaku had hit the post deep in stoppage time, fellow substitute Marc-Antoine Fortune made sure at the death.
1 Man Utd 30 2 Man City 28 3 West Brom 26 4 Chelsea 24 5 Everton 21 6 Arsenal 20 7 West Ham 19 8 Tottenham 17 9 Fulham 16 10 Swansea 16
New QPR manager Harry Redknapp watched from the Old Trafford stands as the visitors surrendered a second-half lead en route to a 3-1 defeat against Manchester United, who have returned to the top of the Premier League.
The bottom-of-the-table visitors, under the temporary guidance of Mark Bowen, took the lead in the 52nd minute when Jamie Mackie pounced from close range after Anders Lindegaard had pushed out Kieron Dyer's cross-shot.
But the London team were swiftly undone by two set-pieces, Jonny Evans and Darren Fletcher both on target with headers from Wayne Rooney corners, before Anderson surged forwards and set up Javier Hernandez for a cool finish to settle matters.
Redknapp, 65, was given a two-and-a-half-year contract by Rangers - just 24 hours on from Mark Hughes' sacking - but will not take charge of the team until Tuesday's game at Sunderland.
Victory took United back to the top of the standings ahead of Manchester City's trip to Chelsea on Sunday.
A Villa 0 - 0 Arsenal Man Utd 3 - 1 QPR Everton 1 - 1 Norwich Stoke City 1 - 0 Fulham Wigan 3 - 2 Reading Sunderland 2 - 4 West Brom
In the other 3pm kick-offs, Jordi Gomez's hat-trick spared Ali Al Habsi's blushes as Wigan overcame Reading 3-2, Everton and Norwich drew 1-1 and Stoke edged Fulham 1-0.
Sean Morrison's first goal for the Royals - a fine header into the top corner from Nicky Shorey's cross - had earned the visitors an interval lead at the DW Stadium.
But Gomez equalised 13 minutes into the second period, lashing high into the net after his initial low effort from substitute Franco Di Santo's cross had been parried by Adam Federici, and then grabbed a second 10 minutes later with a superb diving header from Jean Beausejour's cross.
Ten minutes from time, Hal Robson-Kanu's blocked shot looped high into the air and Al Habsi - seemingly expecting to be put under more pressure than he was - fumbled the ball under his crossbar and looked on helplessly as it trickled over the line.
However, Gomez was not done, and swept home from Arouna Kone's pass in stoppage time to complete his treble.
There was also late drama at Goodison Park, where Sebastien Bassong's 90th-minute diving header from Javier Garrido's free-kick earned the Canaries a point. Steven Naismith had given the Toffees a 12th-minute lead.
Finally, Charlie Adam's 26th-minute goal secured Stoke a 1-0 win against Fulham at the Britannia Stadium, the Scotland midfielder the beneficiary of the knockdown after Peter Crouch comfortably beat Philippe Senderos in the air.
In the late kick-off, Aston Villa climbed out of the bottom three with a deserved share of the spoils in a 0-0 draw against Arsenal at Villa Park.
But a single point did little to bolster Arsenal's hopes of re-igniting their hopes of a top-four finish in a game of few clear-cut chances.
It needed a fine save from Gunners keeper Wojciech Szczesny to deny Villa substitute Brett Holman a late winner.
Source: Newcastle United Mad