Sunderland managed a 5-0 thrashing of newly-promoted Tranmere Rovers one year ago today - Phil Parkinson’s first game in charge at the Stadium of Light.
The win was the club’s biggest since 2007, and gave fans cause for optimism that Parkinson might be able to turn things around in the face of being a fairly unpopular appointment amongst supporters.
The Lads dominated proceedings from the off and went into the half time break three goals up thanks to Duncan Watmore - the man of the match on the night, Chris Maguire and Lynden Gooch.
We also kept our first clean sheet of the season - something that plagued the previous manager, Jack Ross, throughout his time at the club - and Will Grigg ended a six-month goal drought by putting in a really impressive performance up top. Some might say that was Grigg’s best performance in a Sunderland shirt, of which there have been few good ones.
The first goal featured some great play between Grigg and Watmore down the right hand side, with Watmore receiving a ball in behind before bursting into the area and finishing beyond the keeper and in off the foot of the left hand post.
We soon made it two and, again, Watmore was involved, winning the free kick which led to Chris Maguire putting us two ahead.
Watmore then got an assist, nipping in behind the Tranmere defence before squaring it to Gooch, who tapped it home with ease to effectively kill the game before half time.
Grigg then added our fourth, another tap in but one that came as a result of some great work down the right hand side by substitute Marc McNulty.
Luke O’Nien then added a 5th in injury time with a diving header, rounding off what was a fantastic team performance with another nice goal.
Speaking after the game, Parky was delighted to get off and running:
To do it in the style we have done tonight is a great boost for everybody and I am already thinking about the next game.
We’ve set the bar high, but we can build on this and I have just said to the lads in the dressing room that we can’t get carried away and we have to recover properly and get ready for Thursday’s training.
It was incredible. The supporters were great, they were right with us from the start, you could feel it.
Ultimately, the supporters want to see effort and commitment and they want to see goalmouth action as well, we gave them that tonight and they responded brilliantly.
I really enjoyed everything about it from the minute I walked into the ground tonight.
Not a bad start to life as Sunderland boss, then, but things went downhill from there.
Our run of form leading up to that point from Christmas was shocking - by the time we played Bolton we found ourselves sat in 15th place, with most fans wondering what on earth we had done in hiring this manager. Thankfully, our form did improve, but that 5-0 win over Tranmere was about as good as it got for Parkinson in 2019.
SUNDERLAND: Burge, O’Nien, Willis, Lynch, Hume, Dobson, Power, Watmore (C McLaughlin 72), Maguire, Gooch (McNulty 54), Grigg (Kimpioka 88). Subs not used: J McLaughlin, McGeouch, Flanagan, Leadbitter
TRANMERE ROVERS: Davies, Caprice, Ray, Monthe, Ridehalgh, Morris, Danns, Perkins, Jennings, Mullin (Hepburn-Murphy 74), Payne. Subs not used: Pilling, Walker-Rice, Borthwick-Jackson, Wilson, Nelson, Maddox