Sunderland won yet another game today against decent opposition, scoring three in a dominant display against Southend United at the Stadium of Light this afternoon.
Goals from George Honeyman, Chris Maguire and Aiden McGeady were enough to seal the victory, with the lads now within touching distance of the top spot in League One.
Just two minutes into the first half saw Sunderland get their first good chance of the game - a well-hit cross into the box from Chris Maguire found the head of Jerome Sinclair, and with his strike headed towards the top corner the Southend keeper did well to claw it away.
The game was then delayed for a significant period after just after quarter of an hour when Southend left back Ben Coker suffered a terrible knee injury when jumping for a header.
Sunderland remained in control of the opening stages though and their efforts paid dividends as they got the opener.
After a good spell of play, Lynden Gooch curled a lovely ball into the six yard box and George Honeyman finished effortlessly with his head to put the lads in front.
Southend came close with a handful of half chances but never made Jon McLaughlin do too much work, and Sunderland went into the half time break one goal up and in control of the play for the most part.
After the interval it was much the same, with Jack Ross’ side dominating proceedings.
Soon after the break came Sunderland’s second - and what a goal it was.
Having picked up the ball 35 yards out, Chris Maguire strode forward and absolutely slammed home a strike which cannoned into the top left corner of the net - it was arguably better than the one he’s just won a goal of the month award for.
Soon after Southend had their best opportunity. After a goalmouth scramble, Jon McLaughlin made two fantastic saves to keep the score down, again proving why he’s an asset to the side.
With 17 left to play, Lynden Gooch - who had been great up til that point - went off with a hamstring injury. But it didn’t hamper Sunderland, and we added a third to kill the game dead.
Some great play by Josh Maja put Aiden McGeady through on goal, and he finished excellently to grab his first of the season.
Sunderland ensured that they saw the game out professionally, deservedly earning yet another three points and a clean sheet in a game that many had expected would be so much tougher for the lads than it was.
Jon McLaughlin, 8/10: Made a tremendous stop in the first half to keep us in the lead and then did the same again in the second. I say it every week, but its a pleasure having him in our side.
Adam Matthews, 7/10: Linked up well with Gooch down the right. Solid showing.
Tom Flanagan, 7/10: Threw himself at absolutely everything. Has really established himself since Loovens got injured.
Jack Baldwin, 7/10: Like Flanagan he was solid, but he also played some lovely long passes.
Reece James, 6/10: Did nothing wrong - his usual dependable self.
Lee Cattermole, 7/10: Classy and tough - he’s dominating midfields every single week.
Dylan McGeouch, 6/10: Tidy without really stamping his authority - standard McGeouch performance really. Didn’t do much wrong, all things considered.
Lynden Gooch, 7/10: Put some great crosses in the box and was awarded with another assist. He’s really grown into his role as a right winger. Hope his injury isn’t too bad.
George Honeyman, 7/10: Lovely header to open the scoring and worked hard out of posession as he always does.
Chris Maguire, 8/10: Jesus Christ, what a goal. How on earth did we get him for nowt?!
Jerome Sinclair, 7/10: Came close with a header early in the game which drew a great save out the keeper and was a constant pest, not allowing the Southend defence a chance to breathe. An asset to the team.
(SUB) Josh Maja, 7/10: Came on with the game already won to give Southend something extra to think about. Did great to set up our third.
(SUB) Aiden McGeady, 7/10: Like Maja, was a fresh pair of legs and offered something extra in attack. Lovely finish for the goal.
(SUB) Luke O’Nien, 6/10: Grafted hard as always. He’s a great option off the bench when you’re ahead - had energy and desire in abundance.
Man of the Match: Jon McLaughlin