Sunderland stormed to their first win in four matches with a convincing 4-1 victory against Rochdale at the Stadium of Light. Two goals each from Josh Maja and Lyndon Gooch made sure that Matt Dones’ strike mid-way in the second half was nothing more than a consolation.
Jack Ross made four changes to the side with Denver Hume, Tom Flanagan, Chris Maguire and Dylan McGeouch coming into the starting line-up as the hosts lined up in a 4-2-3-1 formation.
Flanagan Loovens Baldwin Hume
Gooch Honeyman Maguire
The hosts went about their business relatively calmly, an eight-minute blitz before half time saw Sunderland to a thumping victory. Josh Maja, fresh from winning the August player of the month award, got things rolling on 37 minutes. Chris Maguire’s pinpoint cross found its way to Maja who headed into the bottom corner. Sunderland had taken the lead in a match, something which was pretty rare this season.
Four minutes later, Lyndon Gooch was making himself a nuisance and he was brought down in the box by Oliver Rathbone. The USA winger dusted himself down to convert the resulting penalty comfortably, 2-0 to the Black Cats.
On the stroke of half time it was three, Maja picked up the ball in the box and created space from himself before slotting the ball in past Dale keeper Josh Lillis. Sunderland were playing the sort of football which will have them near the top of the table come May, if they can repeat it on a more regular basis than they have done so far. A blistering half of football on Wearside.
HT: Sunderland AFC 3-0 Rochdale
If it wasn’t for a superb piece of goalkeeping, Rochdale could have made a perfect start to the second half. Jon McLaughlin saved superbly from firstly Calvin Andrew and then Ian Henderson.
Just past the hour mark it was 4-0 to the Black Cats. Chris Maguire turned his man and played a fantastic ball over to Gooch in the wide position. Not for the first time this season, he glided through the opposition and struck the ball into the bottom right corner to all but seal the victory for the home side. The second time this season Sunderland had scored four times, not bad for September.
The visitors did pull a goal back with twenty minutes left on the clock. Jack Baldwin uncharacteristically slipped, and Jordan Williams capitalised, crossing the ball for Matthew Done to convert. Despite this, the result was never in doubt.
FT: Sunderland AFC 4-1 Rochdale
A straightforward three points for the Black Cats and they moved up to third in the table. A trip to face Coventry City is next up for Jack Ross’ men.