Livingston 0 v Sunderland 3
A mid-week trip to West Lothian ended with victory for Sunderland over Livingston. Goals from Khazri, Asoro and Lens continued new boss Simon Grayson’s unbeaten run through this initial flurry of pre-season fixtures.
Our lads Graham MacMillan-Mason and Chris Sparks basked in the West Lothian evening sunshine.
A crowd of just under 1,200 watched Wahbi Khazri give Sunderland the lead on 20 minutes with a drilled shot into the right-hand corner of the Livingston goal.
Joel Asoro notched after picking up on a goalkeeping error on 76 minutes and Jeremain Lens whacked in from 25-yards on 90 minutes.
Vito Mannone was in the stands as Mika Domingues took the goalkeeping jersey from the start with Max Stryjek on the bench. John O’Shea donned the captain’s armband in an initial back four alongside Billy Jones, Papy Djilobodji and Brendan Galloway.
Donald Love played wide-right with Wahbi Khazri on the the left flank. Jack Rodwell featured in the centre of midfield ahead of Didier Ndong and Darron Gibson operating as the holding pair. Lynden Gooch was shoved upfront as Sunderland began the game with no recognised striker.
Mika, Jones, Galloway, Gibson, Djilobodi, O’Shea, Ndong, Rodwell, Gooch, Khazri, Love
Subs: Stryjek, Beadling, Matthews, Robson E, Maja, Asoro, Kone, Lens, Cattermole, Honeyman, Ledger
One change at half-time saw Jeremain Lens come on for Billy Jones before Simon Grayson made a raft of substitutions shortly into the second with Sunderland then lining up as follows:
Stryjek, Ledger, Beadling, Kone, Matthews, Cattermole, Embleton, Honeyman, Lens, Asoro, Maja
Here's our Graham's take on all those who took to the pitch in red-and-white.
Mika - nothing of note. Caught what he had to and saved what was needed. 6/10
Jones - quietly went about his job well and gave support to Love on the right hand side. 6/10
O'Shea - his experience against Scottish Championship centre forwards shone through. Defended well and had no fuss. 7/10
Djilobodji - he horribly misplaced headers and passes in the first 10 mins, but grew into the game and improved slightly. Still looks likely to drop a clanger at any moment though. 5/10
Galloway - doesn't look like a full back on his two showings so far. Composed on the ball but doesn't look comfortable attacking. 5/10
Love - got forward well and put some good balls into the box. Played a great pass to Rodwell just before half time which should have resulted in a goal. 7/10
Rodwell - full of industry, but still tends to be directionless when on the ball. Got forward well but lacks impetus and threat. Missed a great chance. 5/10
Gibson - was almost unnoticeable, but he just kept things simple and ticking over. Needs the tenacity of Catts next to him. 6/10
Ndong - looks a yard short at the moment and a little jaded. Showed glimmers of his usual self with effort and industry and generally kept himself busy. 6/10
Khazri - again head and shoulders, knees and twinkle toes above everyone else on the pitch. Wahbi will be sensational if we can keep hold of him but his performances are also displaying to suitors what’s on offer. 9/10
Gooch - started off looking out of place, but led the line quite well. Neat touches and linked well with Khazri. 7/10
Lens - time to eat a few words. Looked more motivated than his previous effort at Hibs and scored an absolute beauty right at the death. 8/10
Stryjek - didn't have much to do, but when called upon he handled well. 6/10
Ledger - played in an unfamiliar role at right-back and actually played very well. Impressed. 7/10
Kone - nothing much of note. 6/10
Beadling - same as Kone. 6/10
Matthews - the defence wasn't pushed in this game and much like Kone and Beadling it was an easy night for him. 6/10
Honeyman - decent possession, not everything came off but always showed for the ball. 7/10
Embleton - better than he was on Sunday, neat and tidy. 6/10
Cattermole - his usual self, battled and sprayed the ball about nicely. 6/10
Asoro - got on the ball a lot, but you have to worry about his size. He's very slight and get shoved off the ball far too easily. Got a goal. 6/10
Maja - the opposite to Asoro, he’s tough in possession. Starting to look like a youngster who could easily be in and around the first team next season. 7/10