Match Report: Lads brush aside Rovers

A sublime second-half showing from Sunderland ensured they claimed their fourth successive Sky Bet League One victory, as they cruised past Bristol Rovers.

After a relatively even first-half, three goals in 10 second-half minutes from the Black Cats sent Rovers home emptyhanded.

Lynden Gooch bagged his 10th league goal of the season in the 71st minute shortly after Abu Ogogo received a red card. 

Charlie Wyke and Luke O’Nien then got in on the act to send Sunderland up to fourth in the table.

Phil Parkinson made one change to the starting XI that beat Oxford United last time out, with Alim Ozturk replacing the injured Bailey Wright in the heart of defence. 

There was also room on the substitutes bench for Tommy Smith, after the New Zealander put pen to paper to a deal on Wearside yesterday. 

The Lads made a bright start to a blustery afternoon at the Stadium of Light, with Chris Maguire twice going close inside the first 10 minutes. 

First, the midfielder took aim from outside the area and saw his effort whistle over the bar. 

And then he fired an inventive free-kick under the wall, but it was collected by visiting ‘keeper Jamal Blackman.

In the 20th minute, the Black Cats were somehow denied the lead by two immense goal-line clearances. 

Maguire was once again the orchestrator and played a fine delivery into the box that found its way to Denver Hume, but the wing-back’s effort was stopped by Alfie Kilgour on the line.

Wyke reacted quickest with the follow up and his strike was kept out by Blackman, just as it looked like the number nine would grab his fifth league goal of the season.

The visitors’ best chance of the half fell toOgogo soon after, but his goal-bound shot was deflected to safety by Ozturk.

Sunderland then saw a huge appeal for a penalty turned down towards the end of a half they dominated. 

O’Nien burst into the box from the right and appeared to be hacked down by Jayden Mitchell- Lawson, but referee Ben Toner waved play on.  

The Pirates were reduced to 10-men on the hour mark, when Ogogo was dismissed for an off the ball incident involving Maguire. 

And Sunderland broke the deadlock soon after when Gooch capped off a phenomenal team move.

Maguire drove down the right and crossed low for the USA international who got in front of his marker to prod home his 10th league goal of the season.

Just two minutes later, the Black Cats doubled their lead as Wyke got in on the act.

The number nine found himself one on one with ‘keeper Blackman, calmly took the ball round him and slotted into an empty net.

And in the 82nd minute, O’Nien completed an electric second-half showing by driving into the box and unleashing a shot that deflected into the net. 

The result moves Sunderland up to fourth in the table, with Fleetwood Town next up at the Stadium of Light on Tuesday. 

Sunderland AFC: J McLaughlin, Willis, Ozturk, Power, Maguire (Watmore 86), Wyke (Lafferty 86), Gooch (Semenyo 81), Flanagan, O’Nien, Dobson, Hume. 

Subs not used: Burge, C McLaughlin, Smith, Scowen

Bristol Rovers: Blackman, Kilgour, Craig, Leahy, Menayese, Upson (Harries 85), Clarke, Ogogo, Carke-Harris, Ginnelly (Barrett 71), Mitchell-Lawson (Rodman 64) 

Subs not used: Van Stappershoef, Holmes-Dennis, Abraham, Daly

Attendance: 31,541

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