Kieran Richardson rose to the challenge following Darren Bent's move to Aston Villa by scoring a brace for Sunderland and steering them to a 2-1 victory at Blackpool.
Richardson's first goals of the season could not have come at a better time for manager Steve Bruce as his attacking options were limited.
The opener came when Asamoah Gyan released Richardson with a delightful through ball and he swept a shot into the net for his first goal this season.
Richardson then showed good movement to get on the end of a pass from Steed Malbranque and his effort beat Richard Kingson at the goalkeeper's near post.
However, Bruce had to endure a nervous last few minutes with Charlie Adam pulling a goal back from the penalty spot in the 85th minute.
The sought-after midfielder stepped up after David Vaughan was nudged by Titus Bramble.