Sunderland manager Jack Ross’ return to St Mirren Park started in a scrappy fashion, with no team taking charge in the opening exchanges.
However it wasn’t long before an impressive Sunderland side took control of possession, forcing their new manager’s former team to retreat back into their own half as Sunderland, underpinned by the impressive Dylan McGeoch, pinned St Mirren into their own box.
With new signing McGeoch always looking for the ball, the Lads had Lynden Gooch asking question of St Mirren’s defence and it wasn’t long before he tested the goalkeeper with a long ranger that just skimmed the post.
Against the run of play, however, an overhead kick almost caught out Jon McLaughlin, but the Scotland international made a smart smart to keep the scores level.
It wasn’t long before Sunderland took a well deserved lead. A long ball upfield was excellently controlled by the tireless Chris Maguire, who fed lone striker Josh Maja to finish with ease and in to the net.
From here on in Sunderland continued to dominate possession and it was no surprise when they doubled their lead in the 32rd minute. Neat play down the right hand side between Gooch and Love allowed the former to burst down the right with pace and power, and he was inevitably taken down to win a penalty. The American stepped up and sent the keeper the wrong way to give Sunderland a deserved 2-0 lead.
The remaining minutes of the half saw the Lads control the game with ease, and baring a free kick on the stroke of half time that was easily dealt with, St Mirren never looked like threatening an impressive Sunderland.
The second half start started with Sunderland in the ascendancy once more as an industrious run by George Honeyman forced a corner which sadly came to nothing.
However it wasn’t long before good play between Maja, McGuire and Gooch saw a Maguire shot be saved well, but much to st mirren’s dismay, Maja pulled back which allowed Gooch to bag his second of the game.
The game continued with Sunderland in the ascendancy, and a good move on the right hand side broke down after a poor pass from Gooch.
Gooch continued to cause havoc and won a corner down the right hand side, and from it a tame shot from Flanagan was easily saved by the St Mirren number one.
After a period of pretty much nothing happening Lee Cattermole lost the ball in the middle of the pitch, allowed St Mirren to advance, however McLaughlin pulled off a fine save. The resulting corner was cleared and allowed Josh Maja to control a punt upfield and smash home his second of the day.
Good work down the left allowed a deflected cross to fall to Honeyman who got enough on the ball to spin it past the goalie to make it 5-0.
With St Mirren breaking forward and the young legs of Molyneux available on the break, a simple ball forward on the counter saw Sunderland get a sixth to round off a superb performance.
Didn’t have a great deal to do, and what he did need to do he did well. Seems calm and composed and exactly what was required after last season horror show.
Good going forward and solid enough at the back. Allowed Gooch license to go forward with his work rate.
Looks good on the left, as he strangely hasn’t done for the best part of the last year. Did what was needed calmly, and adds well to the attack going forward.
Better than his previous outings, plays out well from the back. Keeps it simple.
Reads the game well, kept it simple and didn’t really put a foot wrong. Very tidy.
Excellent again, always wanted the ball and anything good from Sunderland came through him.
(MOTM) Gooch: 9/10
Best player on the park. A constant menace, runs with intent and purpose, won and scored the penalty before adding his second in the second half.
Good movement, always wanting the ball. Showed for the ball constantly and penetrated the St Mirren defence on a constant basis. Got a deserved goal.
Had a good game and will be giving Ross food for thought after his display. Controlled the ball and took his goals well.
Didn’t stand out, didn’t make any huge mistakes. Kept us ticking over.
Impressive, industrious and created the opening goal. Strong in possession and looked confident.
Bali Mumba: 6/10
Game was pretty much over by the time he came on. Good burst through the middle near the end.
Some neat touches, but at 5-0 the game was over.
Didn’t have much to do, game already won by the time he came on.
Another that came on with the game won. Looks a unit for a teenager though.
Some neat touches and took his goal very well.