Sunderland got their EFL Trophy campaign off to the perfect start as they defeated Aston Villa Under-21s 8-1 at the Stadium of Light.
Charlie Wyke nodded home Josh Scowen’s corner on 15 minutes to put the Black Cats ahead and five minutes later, Morgan Feeney met another Scowen corner to grab his first Sunderland goal and double the advantage.
Villa pulled one back straight after half-time through Indiana Vassilev’s spot-kick.
But the Lads soon added another as Feeney turned provider for Wyke, who headed home once again to grab his second.
15 minutes from time, Scowen added a fourth and Max Power’s strike from distance made it five.
And then substitutes Danny Graham and George Dobson added a sixth and seventh, before Aiden O’Brien chipped in with the eighth, as Sunderland hit that number for the first time since 1956.
Phil Parkinson made 10 changes from the side that lost out on penalties to Hull City on Saturday, with Max Power the only player to keep his place on the day he was named the club’s team captain.
While youngsters Jack Diamond, Brandon Taylor and Dan Neil were all included from the off.
The visitors started bright and had a could have been ahead inside three minutes but for a fine goal line clearance from Feeney.
And less than 15 minutes later the Lads went ahead as the physicality of Wyke paid dividends.
Josh Scowen whipped in a corner and Wyke evaded his marker to nod home a fine header in front of an empty Roker End.
Five minutes later, another Scowen corner proved decisive once again when Feeney met it this time and looped home his first for the club.
Sunderland continued to assert their dominance on the first half, with Remi Matthews a spectator.
The vocal Grant Leadbitter and Power dictated proceedings from the off, while debutant Arbenit Xhemajli looked a composed figure throughout.
Villa’s best chance of the half came five minutes before the interval through Vassilev, but his snapshot nestled in the side-netting.
But moments after the break the striker did pull one back when he converted from the spot after Taylor was deemed to bring down his man.
Sunderland had their two-goal cushion back in their next venture forward though, when Feeney met another dangerous corner and found Wyke who did the rest and nodded home.
With 15 minutes to spare, substitute Danny Graham turned provider for Scowen to slot home, and then Power drilled home a fine strike from 25-yards to make it five.
Graham came off the bench to make it six on his return to the club with a close-range finish and Dobson added a seventh with a similar strike.
O’Brien scored the eighth in injury time with a curling effort to complete the rout and cap off a fine performance in Group A.
Sunderland AFC: Matthews, Taylor, Feeney, Xhemajli, Diamond, Power (Dobson 80), Leadbitter, Scowen, Neil (O’Brien 70), Gooch, Wyke (Graham 70)
Subs not used: subs: Burge, Flanagan, Maguire, Hume
Aston Villa U21: Sinisalo, Hayden, S Revan, D Revan, Bridge, A Ramsey (Brunt 68), Chukwuemeka, J Ramsey, Wright, Philogene-Bidace, Vassilev (Archer 56)
Subs not used: Onodi, Burton, Sohna, Sturridge, Farr