Adam Johnson gave the hosts the lead in the 36th minute before Paulinho drew the visitors level at the break.
Spurs then sealed the victory minutes into the second half as John O'Shea put the ball into his own net.
Read Sports Mole's minute-by-minute report below to find out how the action unfolded.
4.31pmHello there and welcome to Sports Mole's live text coverage of this evening's Premier League encounter as Sunderland play host to Tottenham Hotspur. We should have some team news for you shortly...
4.37pmSunderland boss Gus Poyet has made four changes to his starting lineup following Wednesday's 4-3 defeat to Chelsea. Steven Fletcher returns in attack, while Ondrej Celustka, Adam Johnson and Sebastian Larsson all come into the side.
4.40pmJust waiting on Andre Villas-Boas to name his starting XI now. Hurry up, AVB!
4.43pmUPDATE: There are five other Premier League fixtures that are entering the final stages right now, and we'll bring you the full-time results as soon as they come in.
Crystal Palace 2-0 Cardiff City Liverpool 4-1 West Ham United Southampton 1-1 Manchester City Stoke City 3-2 Chelsea West Bromwich Albion 0-2 Norwich City
4.57pmOne or two surprising results there, particularly at the Britannia Stadium where Stoke City saw off Chelsea 3-2. However, the biggest shock came in today's early kickoff as Manchester United were beaten 1-0 at home by Newcastle United.
5pmWith those results now in, we know what's at stake in this game tonight. A win for Spurs will move Andre Villas-Boas's side up one place in the table to sixth. Things aren't quite as rosy for Sunderland, but the Black Cats can get themselves off the bottom of the standings if they come out victorious tonight.
5.08pmOf course, this day has some personal significance for Sunderland boss Gus Poyet. The Uruguayan spent three years as a player at Spurs before finally hanging up his boots in 2004. You can be sure that the travelling fans will give him a fine reception when he emerges from the tunnel in just over 20 minutes.
5.10pmHEAD TO HEAD: Spurs have a narrow lead when you look at the head-to-head record between these teams down the years. The North-London club have won 40 matches to Sunderland's 35. There have been 27 draws.
5.13pmThe bad news for Sunderland is that they haven't beaten Spurs in any of their last six meetings. The Black Cats last tasted victory in April 2010 with a 3-1 win at the Stadium of Light.
5.15pmSpurs took the spoils in both fixtures last season, winning 2-1 at the Stadium of Light before earning a 1-0 victory on the final day of the season.
5.29pmLike all matches this weekend, players and fans alike join together for a minute of applause to commemorate the life of the late Nelson Mandela, who died on Thursday at the age of 95.
1 minRight then. The pre-match handshakes have been done and it will be Sunderland to kick us off. Here we go!
3 minIt's been a fairly tentative start to the game, with both sides jostling for possession. However, Spurs are just starting to take a bit of control in these early stages.
6 minThe visitors mount a decent attack as Naughton receives the ball on the egde of the box, but the full-back's attempted pass through to Chadli is blocked out by the Sunderland defence. Lennon then drills in a low cross that is cut out by Brown.
9 minSunderland have shown some flashes of attacking intent so far, though the final ball has been lacking. Altidore is already proving to be a bit of a handful for the Spurs defence as he uses his immense strength.
12 minThe hosts are enjoying their best spell at the moment, as they pass the ball with confidence. It's been a pretty physical match so far, it has to be said. There have been a few tasty challenges flying in. Paulinho tries his luck from 25 yards, but his effort dips over the bar.
15 minIt's very even indeed right now. Spurs are looking the more creative of the two sides, though Sunderland continue to play with plenty of positivity. Still goalless.
16 minCHANCE! Decent opening for Sunderland as Fletcher chases a long ball over the top before dragging his left-footed shot wide from just inside the area.
17 minSAVE! Holtby comes close for Spurs as he lets rip from distance, but Mannone is there to push the ball away. That looked as if it might just have been creeping into the corner.
18 minCHANCE! This match has exploded into life in the last few minutes! Colback receives the ball out wide and goes for goal from an acute angle. It's not a bad effort, but he smashes his shot over the bar.
21 minCHANCE! The opportunities keep coming! This time it's Paulinho who tries his luck after being picked out by Lennon inside the box. The Brazilian midfielder shows good control to bring the ball down before seeing his attempt pushed out for a corner by Mannone. Unfortunately for Spurs it comes to nothing.
25 minGreat defending from Bardsley. Spurs were looking dangerous there as Lennon broke down the right side, but the Sunderland full-back kept his calm to dispossess the winger before setting his side away on another attack.
28 minA bit of a waste there for Sunderland as Altidore's cross towards Fletcher is too high and goes out of play. The hosts had men forward in that attack.
30 minMore of the same in terms of poor crossing from Sunderland as Colback blasts the ball high and wide from out on the left. Still, this is very much an even contest at the moment and one the Sunderland fans feel is there to be one. Their support has been great so far.
32 minCHANCE! Spurs should really be ahead. Chadli rose highest from a corner to head towards goal, only to direct his effort straight into the hands of Mannone. An yards either side and that would have gone in.
36 minSunderland lead through Adam Johnson, but it's a bit of a howler from Hugo Lloris. The Spurs goalkeeper came out and missed Celtuska's cross before Johnson drilled the ball into the open net to send the crowd wild at the Stadium of Light.
40 minFive minutes of normal time left to play in this first half and the momentum is firmly with Sunderland after that goal. There's still a long way to go in this match, but three points for the Black Cats would certainly shake up the relegation battle shaping up at the bottom of the table.
42 minSpurs weren't behind for long as Paulinho draws the visitors level. A free kick on the right was headed back across goal by Chadli, and there was the Brazilian midfielder to poke the ball past Mannone from close range. Just the tonic for Andre Villas-Boas's men.
44 minSAVE! It's a decent stop from Lloris this time as the French goalkeeper pushes away Celtuska's rasping effort from the edge of the box.
6.19pmReferee Lee Mason blows his whistle for half time and it's 1-1 between Sunderland and Tottenham Hotspur. Adam Johnson gave the hosts the lead following a mistake by Hugo Lloris before Paulinho drew the visitors level minutes before the break.
6.20pmAll in all, that was a fairly decent half of football. It was end-to-end stuff at times, but Spurs created the better chances overall.
6.24pmFor those who may have missed them earlier, here are the other Premier League results from today...
Crystal Palace 2-0 Cardiff City Liverpool 4-1 West Ham United Manchester United 0-1 Newcastle United Southampton 1-1 Manchester City Stoke City 3-2 Chelsea West Bromwich Albion 0-2 Norwich City
6.28pmAs it stands, Spurs would remain in seventh place in the Premier League table while Sunderland would stay rooted to the bottom.
6.31pmBENCH WATCH: Both sides have plenty of attacking options on their respective benches if they need to shake things up later on. Sunderland have Craig Gardner and Fabio Borini on their bench, while Spurs can call on Gylfi Sigurdsson, Roberto Soldado and Andros Townsend.
46 minThe players are back out and it looks like neither side has opted to make any changes at the break. Spurs kick us off for the second half.
48 minMannone did well there to come off his line quickly and get to the ball before Defoe. The Spurs striker was almost put through there with a long ball over the top.
49 minGOAL! SUNDERLAND 1-2 SPURS (0'SHEA OWN GOAL)
49 minSpurs have turned it around thanks to an own goal from John O'Shea, but there was nothing the Sunderland skipper could do about that. Dembele did brilliantly to burst into the box from the left before his low cross was turned into his own net by O'Shea.
52 minCHANCE! Great defending by Johnson, of all people, as Spurs broke quickly on the counter-attack. Chadli made a great run into the Sunderland half before trying to pick out Holtby at the back post, but Johnson was there to clear the danger with a last-ditch interception.
55 minCHANCE! Nearly a third goal for Spurs as Walker pulled the ball back to Holtby around the penalty spot, but the German's goal-bound effort was blocked by the Sunderland defence.
56 minOFF THE POST! Spurs come so close again, this time as Defoe heads against the upright following Lennon's clipped cross into the box. The visitors are dominating at the moment.
60 minWe've had an hour played and Spurs are looking to kill this game off. Sunderland are struggling to get out of their own half as the visitors crank up the pressure a few notches. However, they will be aware that they need to put away one of these chances sooner rather than later.
64 minCHANCE! Defoe should score, but instead shoots wide! The Spurs striker timed his run perfectly to get in behind the Sunderland defence before dragging his shot past the post.
66 minSUBSTITUTION: It's a double change for Sunderland as Lee Cattermole and Fabio Borini are introduced in place of Jack Colback and Adam Johnson.
69 minSunderland are just starting to enjoy a bit more of the ball following a long spell of Spurs dominance. Borini and Cattermole seem to have injected a bit of optimism into the home side.
70 minCHANCE! Good opportunity for Sunderland as Fletcher gets his head to Larsson's cross, but the striker can only guide his effort narrowly wide of the goal with Lloris beaten. Can the hosts find an equaliser with the clock ticking down? Twenty minutes left.
72 minSUBSTITUTION: Spurs make their first change of the evening with Sandro replacing Moussa Dembele, who looks to be limping a bit.
74 minPENALTY APPEAL! Should Sunderland have a penalty? The players think so, but Lee Mason waves away the appeals. A corner was whipped in from the left and it looked as if the ball struck the arm of Sandro, who had his arm up in a dangerous position.
77 minSUBSTITUTION: Sunderland's final change of the match sees Emanuele Giaccherini come on in place of Ondrej Celutska. The clock is ticking for the Black Cats.
78 minSUBSTITUTION: And here's another swap for Spurs as Andros Townsend replaces Lewis Holtby.
79 minOFF THE POST! Defoe hits the woodwork for the second time with a delightful little flick from Townsend's cross. The striker just eased the ball towards goal, but it failed to creep inside the post.
82 minCHANCE! That really should be game over as Paulinho misses with a header from close range. Townsend did brilliantly again down the left side, weighing his cross perfectly into the middle. However, Paulinho could only head wide when he should have scored.
83 minSUBSTITUTION: A final change for the visitors sees Gylfi Sigurdsson come on for Nacer Chadli. Can Spurs hold on for the three points?
7.25pmLee Mason blows the full-time whistle and Tottenham Hotspur have the win to move themselves up to sixth place in the Premier League table. Adam Johnson gave the hosts the lead, but the visitors turned it around through Paulinho and a John O'Shea own goal.
7.26pmAnyway, that's all from me for now but don't forget that you can keep up to date with reports and reaction from all today's Premier League games right here on Sports Mole. Thanks for your company, and goodbye!