Sunderland travelled across the country to Cumbria this evening to take on League Two side Carlisle United at Brunton Park in the second round of the Carabao Cup, running out 2-1 winners after goals from youngsters Donald Love and Lynden Gooch.
Simon Grayson made ten changes to the team that took on Leeds United at the weekend, with only Gabon international Didier Ndong retaining his place in the starting eleven.
Sunderland started the first half strong and opened with a number of good chances, with Joel Asoro spurning a couple of particularly good ones.
Carlisle got a foothold in the game as the half wore on, but it was Sunderland who took the initiative through a well worked Donald Love goal on 25 minutes.
Some fantastic play from Lynden Gooch on the left saw the ball fall on a plate to Love, who tucked it away with relative ease to give his side the lead.
Sunderland kept their shape well but understandably struggled at the back, and in particular Adam Matthews and Papy Djilobodji weren't enjoying the best of times as Carlisle swarmed the Sunderland box for the remainder of the half. In fact, the Cumbrians came close to equalising when Bermuda international Reggie Lambe crashed his shot off the post - Sunderland were lucky to still be in the lead, and went in to half time ahead.
The second half belonged to Carlisle and they were well worthy of their equaliser, even if it came to them rather fortunately.
Papy Djilobodji - who had a terrible evening once again - clattered a Carlisle player and the ref pointed to the spot. The brilliant Ruiter saved, but Danny Grainger tucked away the follow up to level the scores.
Carlisle maintained their pressure but the introduction of Vaughan, Kone and McGeady from the bench sprung Sunderland back in to life, and it wasn't long before they took the lead.
Lynden Gooch raced in to the Carlisle box before rifling hone a a superb left footed curler to put his side ahead - a fantastic goal from a player who had given a fantastic performance.
Sunderland saw the game out in a professional fashion and ensured they took the win back to Wearside - it was a decent performance from a largely second string side, with stand out performances from Ruiter, Gooch and O'Shea. All three will be pushing for starts this weekend when we play Barnsley.
Robbin Ruiter - 9/10: Outstanding. If he doesn't play on Saturday then something is desperately wrong.
Bryan Oviedo - 7/10: Decent enough, put some good balls in to the box and was an outlet offensively.
Papy Djilobodji - 2/10: Genuinely appalling. Had a horrible first half and then gave away a stupid penalty. The lad has no future here.
John O'Shea - 7/10: Solid game. Won everything in the air and held our defence together.
Adam Matthews - 4/10: Really struggled at centre half, was slightly better at right back.
Donald Love - 7/10: Good performance, took his goal well and played some neat passes.
Didier Ndong - 6/10: Busy. Was booked unfairly again for the second game running. It's impressive how he never seems to tire.
Darron Gibson - 6/10: Was positive on the ball but wasn't able to influence the game much as it wore on.
Wahbi Khazri - 4/10: Awful. Never looked interested, barely contributed and gave the ball away loads.
Lynden Gooch - 9/10: Strong performance. Set up Love's goal beautifully and was busy all night - and scored a fantastic goal to boot. Did himself plenty of favours.
Joel Asoro - 6/10: Did alright in the first half but quiet in the second. Had two very good chances in the first half, one of which he should have buried.
Lamine Kone (sub) - 7/10: Shored our defence up when it was much needed.
James Vaughan (sub) - 7/10: Busy.
Aiden McGeady (sub) - 7/10: Sparked us back in to life when he came on.
Man of the Match: Lynden Gooch. Goal and an assist, and a fantastic all-round performance!