TOWN took the Stadium of Light by storm in a magical night of success both on and off the field.
Peter Jackson's fired-up side built on a sensational start in fine style to notch the club's biggest win in a major Cup competition for nine years.
And they were roared every inch of the way by a blue and white army of fans who grabbed the vocal honours in a way once unheard of in this part of the world.
I am sure the party would still be going had they not been pointed back down the A1, and how fitting that Jackson's players should afford their own standing ovation to the supporters who gave their hearts and voices to the cause.
It was just the performance Jackson wanted after the disappointments of the Vetch Field, and every member of his new-look 3-5-2 formation can hold their heads up with pride and heroic joy.
Not only did they book a place in the third round late next month, but they made First Division opposition pay dearly for the luxury of fielding six back-up players.
Home manager Mick McCarthy insisted it was no disrespect to Town or the competition, citing Saturday's League clash with Reading as more important, but Wearside regulars were furious because while their pre-season McAlpine defeat counted for nothing, this one did.
McCarthy must have been uncomfortable from the moment Tony Carss curled a fantastic free-kick into the top corner of the net with only 68 seconds on the clock.
It was the sort of strike Carss has been threatening all season and, while striker Jon Stead had bagged seven goals going into the game, none had been better than his eighth of the season which extended Town's lead.
Keeper Michael Ingham could only watch helplessly as Stead's curling right-footer ripped inside the angle after 20 minutes, and it was only when former Town loan man Kevin Kyle scored with a near-post header from a corner five minutes later that Sunderland started to play.
Even though Sunderland had plenty of the ball and the lively Thomas Butler causing problems down their left, Town defended splendidly with Steve Yates alongside Paul Scott and David Mirfin at the back and goalkeeper Ian Gray back to his outstanding best.
Jackson was already rehearsing his half-time team talk when Gray made the first of several top-drawer saves, clawing Sean Thornton's vicious 30-yard free-kick past the angle when it seemed destined to rouse home support in a crowd of 13,516.
Better was to come, but not before Town had enjoyed two significant pieces of luck at the start of the second half.
Firstly, Michael Proctor - who was preferred to leading scorer Marcus Stewart - headed over when it seemed easier to score and then, at the other end, Town restored their two-goal lead in truly controversial fashion on 55 minutes.
It came from a fine move involving Danny Schofield (back after suspension) and Jon Worthington, whose mazy run needed a brave stop from Ingham.
The ball bounced free, however, to the ever-eager Booth, whose header was handled off the line by big Ben Clark, right in front of Town's joyous bank of fans.
Young Andy Holdsworth was taking no chances - even though everyone expected a penalty - and hammered the ball in for good measure.
Remarkably, after initially showing a yellow card and then sending Clark off, referee Mark Cooper awarded the goal, much to the disgust of the Sunderland team who protested to a man.
Down to 10 and two goals adrift, Sunderland sent on Stewart to a rapturous reception from both sets of fans, but it was Thornton with two cracking free-kicks (one deflected) who tested Gray the most but found him to be in inspired form. He saved smartly from Kyle and Stewart, too.
Only three minutes remained, with many Mackems already on their way home, when a mistake by substitute Darren Williams was punished to the full by a cool and clever finish from Booth - whose raised-arm salute became a symbol of Town's romp to victory.
The fact that Scottish international Kyle scored again in the third minute of injury time mattered not - it was even cheered in ironic fashion by Town's followers - because the result was beyond doubt and heavily in favour of the underdogs.
While Town could have kept the ball better, their defence was solid, the wing-backs effective with plenty of help and the midfield - in which Lee Fowler caught the eye - industrious enough to put Sunderland off their stride.
It was hard work, make no mistake, but the attitude was spot-on throughout the team and they richly deserved the spoils.
Booth and Stead illustrated that by the amount of chasing back they did, while Fowler and Worthington crashed through tackles and Schofield did his bit when moved to the right flank from a floating role to help Holdsworth deal with Butler.
That sort of thinking on their feet from Jackson and Terry Yorath was as canny as the formation itself, and on an occasion when Town knew they would have to make the most of their chances, they did.
How the fans lapped it up, and Jackson joked that half the team were so young they couldn't celebrate with a drink - they'd have to go to McDonald's for a milkshake!
You can bet after this result that McCarthy is looking for something a little stronger.
Town Form (3-5-2)
Ian Gray Outstanding saves all night, particularly to deny some stinging long range free kicks from Sean Thornton Rating: 9/10
Andy Holdsworth Worked tremendously hard as right wing-back and scored his first senior goal - a vital one - on a Cup night tor remember Rating: 7/10
Tony Carss Played magnificently at left wing-back and got Town off to a fine start with a superb free-kick after just 68 seconds Rating: 7/10
Steve Yates Returned for the first time in six matches and played a solid part in a sterling defensive effort from the whole team Rating: 7/10
Paul Scott Strong and aggressive and made some very effective tackles. Unlucky to be booked. Close with a header Rating: 7/10
David Mirfin Terrific contribution once again and enjoyed a fierce battle with big Kevin Kyle. Made two outstanding blocks Rating: 8/10
Lee Fowler A real handful for Sunderland in the middle and a driving force with his tackling and running throughout Rating: 8/10
Jon Worthington Almost on the scoresheet before the controversial third goal and a hard working partner for Fowler Rating: 7/10
Danny Schofield Back after suspension to play as `floater' but ended up helping Holdsworth on the right flank. Did well Rating: 7/10
Andy Booth Played the target well and did plenty of strong defensive work. Took his goal with the expertise of a veteran Rating: 8/10
Jon Stead Scored a fabulous curler for his eighth of the season to put Town two up. Worked hard throughout the game Rating: 8/10
Ingham, McCartney, Clark, Whitley, Kyle, Oster (Leadbitter 70), Proctor (Stewart 60), Thornton, Butler, Bjorklund (Williams HT), James.
Subs not used: Poom, Babb.
Made a memorable save from Thornton's free-kick in the first half and followed up with two better ones in the second, especially a 19-yard drive which took a deflection off the wall. Handled well and kicked coolly throughout and shone as top man.
The quick thinking of Andy Holdsworth to fire the ball in for his first senior goal despite the fact that every fan in the ground thought a penalty would be awarded for Clark handling Booth's header
Subs used: Sunderland: Williams for Bjorklund HT, Stewart for Proctor 60, Leadbitter for Oster 70. Town: Brown for Booth 89.
Subs not used: Sunderland: Poom, Babb. Town: Booty, Senior, Mattis, Newby.
Scorers: Sunderland: Kyle 25 & 90. Town: Carss 2, Stead 20, Holdsworth 55, Booth 87.
Referee: Mark Cooper (Walsall).
Bookings: Sunderland: Thornton. Town: Fowler, Scott, Schofield.
Sending-off: Sunderland: Clark.
Shots on target: Sunderland 7, Town 6.
Corners: Sunderland 8, Town 3.
Caught offside: Sunderland 6, Town 2.
Free-kicks awarded: Sunderland 14, Town 8.