Harrogate Town 0-4 Sunderland
Sunderland’s pre-season continued with a convincing victory, scoring four times at the EnviroVent Stadium against Harrogate Town.
A quickfire first-half double from Elliot Embleton set the tone for the afternoon against the League Two hosts, then Carl Winchester made it three before the break.
A deflection from Ellis Taylor’s effort then sealed the win in the second half, in a match in which Luke O’Nien also made his first appearance of pre-season – captaining the side for the full 90 minutes.
Harrogate started the encounter brightly, Alex Pattison forcing a low save from Anthony Patterson in the Sunderland goal.
But the Lads quickly grew into the game, Harrogate ‘keeper Mark Oxley denying a dipping shot from Jack Diamond, and it was not to be long before the opener.
Embleton showed excellent initiative and danced his way into space, firing a slightly deflected but powerful hit low into the right-hand corner.
The second was almost immediately to follow, with a heavier deflection from a Harrogate man helping in another dangerous Embleton shot – the nimble midfielder earning his reward twofold for getting a sight of goal outside the area.
The Lads managed the first half excellently as Harrogate attempted to attack, playing some intriguing football of their own and number three arrived shortly before the break to inject that clinical edge.
Following impressive persistence from Corry Evans and quick feet from Jack Diamond, the winger played it centrally to Aiden O’Brien who picked out a clever Winchester run, the stand-in right-back on hand to provide a cool finish.
The second half followed in similar fashion, beginning with saves from Oxley to keep O’Brien and Ross Stewart at bay, before Lee Johnson made numerous changes on the hour mark.
One of the oncoming players was teenager Taylor, whose looping cross-shot found its way in off the far post via another defensive intervention for four, midway through the half.
Try as they might, Harrogate were unable to prevent a clean sheet for both Patterson and Lee Burge who played a half each in North Yorkshire – Jack Muldoon snatched at the hosts’ best chance with a shot wide from 12 yards out.
A runout for all nine substitutes on the day will have pleased Johnson on a productive afternoon – Tranmere Rovers come next for the Black Cats on Tuesday night.
SUNDERLAND AFC: Patterson (Burge 46), Winchester (Dyce 70), Doyle (Younger 60), Flanagan (Richardson 70), Neil, Evans (Wilding 60), O’Nien, Diamond (Hawkes 80), Embleton (Taylor 60), O’Brien (Kimpioka 60), Stewart (Grigg 60).