Bobby Zamora demonstrated the centre-forward's art, Fulham showed how to threaten on the counter-attack and a striker-less Sunderland could not take advantage of Philippe Senderos's defensive vulnerabilities.
It all amounted to another awful afternoon for Steve Bruce but an ultimately pleasant interlude for his former Manchester United team-mate turned managerial enemy Mark Hughes. After an underwhelming, distinctly slow-burn beginning, Hughes saw Fulham record only their second away win of the season.
Far from friends, the two managers shook hands cursorily without looking at each other at the end of a match which Bruce will claim explains just why he wants to sign "seven or eight new players" this summer.
Not that Hughes was exactly performing cartwheels. "I wasn't too enamoured with our first-half performance," he said. "We looked a different side in the second half but I'm disappointed with what we produced earlier."
Bruce, whose side have won just one of their last 11 fixtures and lost all shape after the break, said: "Our defending was horrific. But we have to move on."
The visitors opened the scoring after 33 minutes. Created by Eidur Gudjohnsen and Zamora, the goal came when Gael Kakuta connected with Zamora's pass before stumbling beyond two negligent defenders and slipping a close-range shot beneath Simon Mignolet. It was the 19-year-old Chelsea loanee's first goal for Fulham.
With Senderos a weak visiting link, Mark Schwarzer saved well from Lee Cattermole as Sunderland briefly flattered to deceive. However, Simon Davies's superb 63rd-minute shot into the bottom corner had Bruce's defenders arguing about a second slapdash concession.
A brilliant delivery from Zamora led to Davies's second goal on 73 minutes, the midfielder shrugging off Ahmed Elmohamady to poke home. Gudjohnsen swiftly volleyed narrowly wide but, by then, Bruce had probably suffered enough.
Sunday Indo Sport