Sunderland AFC 3-0 Rochdale
Sunderland strolled to a 3-0 win over Rochdale at the Stadium of Light on Tuesday evening.
A dominant opening 45 minutes saw the Dale put to the sword, as Lynden Gooch scored a brace – and Chris Maguire collected a couple of assists – either side of an own goal by Eoghan O'Connell.
The visitors were quite simply blown away, with a back three of Jordan Willis, Bailey Wright and Tom Flanagan refusing to give an inch at the other end
Phil Parkinson’s side remained in control after the break, as the Lads picked up three points, as well as their sixth clean sheet in seven games.
The boss named an unchanged side at an icy Stadium of Light, and his faith yielded instant rewards.
Wright and Gooch both had efforts on goal in the opening eight minutes, as the former headed over before the forward steered wide following a free-flowing move that carved open the visiting defence.
The Black Cats kept on coming, though, and shortly after their persistence paid off, Gooch volleying home from six yards following a tantalising cross from Maguire.
Brian Barry-Murphy would have been hoping to see a reaction from his side, but it didn’t materialise and the second arrived on 15 minutes.
Gooch and Maguire continued to wreak havoc and the Dale had no answer, with the USA international flying into the final third before sliding in Maguire, who saw another inviting cross turned into his own net by O'Connell.
With 31 minutes on the clock, Luke O’Nien joined the party and after a quick one-two with Maguire, his effort rebounded to Gooch to fire home his second of the evening.
Rochdale made a change before the break – Rhys Norrington-Davies replaced by Jimmy Keohane – but it did little to turn the tide, as O’Nien forced a goal-saving block before the Lads left the field to a standing ovation at the break.
Sunderland continued to control proceedings following the restart, with Gooch firing straight at Robert Sanchez while looking for his hat-trick.
Denver Hume, who provided a constant threat, was adamant he should have been awarded a penalty before the hour mark, with Antoine Semenyo coming on for his home debut after Maguire appeared to pick up a knock.
Duncan Watmore and Kyle Lafferty also banked valuable minutes as the game wore on, as the Black Cats collected a valuable three points.
Sunderland AFC: J McLaughlin, Willis, Power, Maguire (Semenyo 71), Wyke (Lafferty 85), Gooch (Watmore 78), Flanagan, O’Nien, Dobson, Wright, Hume.
Substitutes: Burge, C McLaughlin, Ozturk, Scowen.