Sunderland 3-0 Scunthorpe United
A rampant first-half display from Jack Ross’ Sunderland blew Scunthorpe United away at the Stadium of Light on Sunday.
Play-off contenders in each of the last two seasons, and unbeaten heading into the game, the Iron were overwhelmed from start to finish as a relentless performance from the Lads maintained their perfect league record at home.
Max Power was first to unlock the Scunthorpe defence, timing his run to perfection and planting an unstoppable header into the top corner to open his account.
And the Red ‘n’ Whites never looked back, with Josh Maja firing home his third league goal in as many games before Chris Maguire grabbed his first goal for the club.
The Black Cats could have added to the scoring in the second period, and they were rarely troubled at the back, but the damage was already done as the Lads eased to victory.
Jack Ross made several changes ahead of the game, as Glenn Loovens, Adam Matthews, Bryan Oviedo, Lynden Gooch and Maja were recalled to the starting XI.
Dylan McGeouch wasn’t included in the matchday squad, but Lee Cattermole retained his place after featuring heavily in the midweek Carabao Cup clash with Sheffield Wednesday.
Sunderland burst out of the traps and the visitors were immediately pushed onto the back foot.
Within the opening five minutes, Gooch powered past his man before being cynically taken to ground, with relentless pressure leading to Maguire forcing the first save of the game.
George Honeyman also fired over the top before Maja glanced a corner wide, as the Iron failed to gain a foothold in the game.
The visitors did however believe they should have been awarded a penalty with 11 minutes played, but their appeals fell on deaf ears and play continued after Jack Baldwin clattered into George Thomas.
Sunderland continued to pour forward and with 22 minutes on the clock their dominance was rewarded.
Oviedo was the architect, jinxing past his man before clipping the ball into the mix where Power arrived bang on time to send a superb header into the top corner.
Ross’ side refused to let up, though, and just a few minutes later they doubled their lead.
The Costa Rican left-back once again played his part, feeding Maja who swivelled on a six-pence before slamming an unstoppable drive into the bottom corner.
Superior in every department, the Black Cats almost added to their lead when a corner dropped to Baldwin and he pulled trigger, but a last-ditch blocked ensured the visitors remained in the game.
But there was simply no stopping the boys in red and white, and after linking well throughout the opening period, Honeyman and Gooch combined before the interval to tee up Maguire’s first goal for the club.
The second-half continued in a similar fashion, as the Lads’ relentless play continued and Power volleyed just over the top.
But the Black Cats were dealt a blow just ahead of the hour mark, as Matthews, who missed the midweek action due to a knock, hobbled off.
Cattermole, who produced a commanding performance at the base of Sunderland’s midfielder, was next to try his luck, but the midfielder was unable to keep a powerful header on target.
Maja should have grabbed his second with eight minutes remaining, but the striker screwed an excellent chance wide after a blistering counter attack sliced open the visitors.
It didn’t matter in the end, though, as Ross’ side eased to victory ahead of a testing week on the road.
Attendance: 29, 876
Sunderland: McLaughlin, Loovens, Baldwin, Matthews (James 59), Oviedo, Cattermole, Honeyman (O’Nien 82), Power, Maguire (Mumba 70), Gooch, Maja.
Subs not used: Ruiter, Ozturk, Robson, Embleton.
Scunthorpe United: Watson, Clarke, Lund (Ojo 65), Morris (Colclough 78), Dales (Humphrys 60), Perch, Novak, Thomas, Goode, Burgess, Butroid.
Subs not used: Flatt, Ojo, Horsfield, Humphrys, McArdle, Olomola.