Sunderland beat local non-league side Hartlepool United 5-2 today at the Academy of Light in a behind closed doors game - their last before the season starts this coming Saturday.
Newly signed striker Marc McNulty bagged three, Chris Maguire scored a volley, and Aiden McGeady netted in his first game since returning back later than the rest of the squad after being given some extra time off to recover from injury.
Nico Muir and Luke James were the scorers for the away side - one of which was said to be a pretty bad mix up in the box between Lee Burge and Jack Baldwin which led to Pools getting on the scoresheet.
Sunderland’s Line-up: Burge; Baldwin, Bainbridge, Ozturk; O’Nien, Power, Dobson, Hackett; Maguire, McGeady, McNulty.
Sunderland’s team that started the game practically finished it, with the only significant change made when Chris Maguire took a knock and was replaced by Benji Kimpioka.
The former Sheffield Wednesday man’s goal was a well-taken volley, and Aiden McGeady’s was a curled effort into the bottom corner from around 18 yards.
McNulty also scored a volley, and a deflected effort, but the highlight of his hattrick was a deft back-heel which deceived everyone - three important goals for the former Coventry man as he looks to insert himself into Jack Ross’s thinking as he searches for his best forward line to start the season off.
Hopefully the game will provide a confidence and fitness boost to Sunderland ahead of Saturday’s game with Oxford at the weekend after a goalless few weeks, especially considering three attackers got themselves on the scoresheet.