“You know what they’re like, they’ll probably go and beat Wolves!”
- You, last week.
Sunderland comfortably beat league winners Wolverhampton Wanderers by three goals to nil, with the team largely made up with young players giving a promising and assured performance.
Goals from Ovie Ejaria, Ashley Fletcher and Paddy McNair secured a deserved three points as Robbie Stockdale’s side said goodbye to what has been a miserable season in the best possible fashion against the league winners, who will go on next season to play Premier League football.
Sunderland: Jason Steele, Bryan Oviedo, Adam Matthews, John O’Shea, Marc Wilson, Ovie Ejaria, Paddy McNair, Ethan Robson, Kazenga LuaLua, Joel Asoro, Ashley Fletcher
Subs: Lee Camp, Josh Maja, Jake Clarke-Salter, Bali Mumba, Elliot Embleton, Denver Hume, Luke Molyneux
Wolves: Will Norris, Barry Douglas, Roderick Miranda, Conor Coady, Danny Batth, Matt Doherty, Romain Saiss, Ruben Neves, Morgan Gibbs-White, Helder Costa, Diogo Jota
Subs: Harry Burgoyne, Alfred N’Diaye, Benik Afobe, Bright Enobakare, Ruben Vinagre, Kortney Hause, Leo Bonatini
Robbie Stockdale was forced into a late change as Kazenga LuaLua pulled up with an injury in the pre-match warm-up. He was replaced by Luke Molyneux.
Wolves were predictably on top for the first ten minutes, but Sunderland started to come into the game more as it ticked on. Joel Asoro was unlucky not to be able to convert from short range and Ovie Ejaria had an ambitious effort from outside the box tipped over.
Asoro had another great chance once again after a lovely one-two from Ejaria and Paddy McNair, but once again Wolves got bodies in the way.
Eventually, this continued Sunderland pressure reaped rewards! Ejaria gathered the ball after an initial shot from Molyneux was parried away and stabbed the rebound into the back of the net.
The lads showed no sign of letting up once their advantage was netted. Ashley Fletcher was granted enough space to turn and shoot but ‘keeper Will Norris was able to get his hands to it.
Wolves had their first real chance of the game on thirty-nine minutes. Ruben Neves fired on goal from twenty-five yards out but the effort sailed narrowly over Jason Steele’s crossbar.
Fletcher came very close to making it two on the stroke of half time. He marauded forward, weaved his way through three defenders and let loose a shot from just inside the box - that drifted just wide of the far post...
...his next attempt didn’t, though! The on-loan striker beat ‘keeper Norris to the ball and chipped it over him, and the ball bounced lazily into the back of the net.
HT: Sunderland 2-0 Wolves (Ejaria 19’, Fletcher 45’)
The visitors looked to get more involved following the restart. Diogo Jota had a good chance for Wolves when he let loose a powerful shot, but Steele did well to turn it behind.
But Sunderland were no less of a threat. Molyneux showed this when he made a purposeful run forward before slipping through Ejaria, who pinched the ball from the advancing Norris. Unfortunately, the on-loan Liverpool man couldn’t make anything of it once he’d rounded the ‘keeper.
But McNair would make no mistake once he was afforded an opportunity. The Northern Irishman marauded through the box, worked his way through the orange shirts and fired the ball past Norris and into the back of the net. Sunderland were three up!
The Sunderland pressure was unrelenting from here on and it was safe to say Wolves had given up. Ejaria had another chance to add to the scoreline when he latched onto a through ball from Fletcher and evaded his marker, but he couldn’t quite work the ball around the Wolves ‘keeper, who was able to nick it from under his feet.
The lads had completely outclassed the league champions this afternoon. If nothing else, we’re starting the Stewart Donald era in the best way possible by annihilating the best opposition this league had to offer.
FT: Sunderland 3-0 Wolves (Ejaria 19’, Fletcher 45’, McNair 66’)
Jason Steele, 7/10: Turned out yet another solid showing between the sticks. Might he be a shout for No. 1 next season?
Bryan Oviedo, 7/10: Dealt with the threats down his flank comfortably.
Adam Matthews, 6/10: Probably the least involved of any of the starting XI, but decent nonetheless.
John O’Shea, 7/10: Marshalled a back line which was resilient whenever Wolves came forward. Best of luck for the future, John.
Marc Wilson, 7/10: Like JOS, he did a good job.
Ovie Ejaria, 9/10: Easily his best game in a Sunderland shirt. Caused the visitors all kinds of problems with his skill and was unlucky not to be on the scoresheet more than once.
Paddy McNair, 9/10: Tremendous, once again. Bossed the midfield all afternoon and netted a superb individual goal.
Ethan Robson, 8/10: Tenacious in the tackle all afternoon.
Luke Molyneux, 8/10: Played a role in many of our runs forward and seemed to cover every blade of grass. Like Honeyman on creatine.
Joel Asoro, 8/10: Absolutely tortured the full-back he was up against. Shame he more than likely won’t be here next season.
Ashley Fletcher, 7/10: Scored a lovely chip. Might’ve netted only minutes prior too.
(SUB) Denver Hume, 7/10: A solid debut from him.
(SUB) Elliot Embleton, 7/10: Steered the ship and made a crucial tackle toward the end to maintain the clean sheet.
(SUB) Bali Mumba, 6/10: I bet making your debut in a 3-0 rout over the league champions beats the hell out of double biology.
Roker Report’s Man of the Match: Ovie Ejaria.