Lee Burge: 7/10
Made one spectacular save to spare Sunderland’s blushes early on when the scores were level, and made another good save late on. Was largely a spectator after his early heroics and was unlucky to be beaten one-on-one.
Conor McLaughlin: 5/10
Solid enough playing out of position, but was one of many Sunderland players who lacked match sharpness and was too sloppy in possession during the first half.
Bailey Wright: 7/10
Strolled through the game, dealt with any long balls aimed in his direction, one of the few Black Cats whose class stood out against lower league opposition in a testing first half.
Tom Flanagan: 6/10
One of the team’s most progressive passers in the first half, Flanagan was caught out diving in for the Gateshead goal, but acquitted himself well outside of that.
Luke O’Nien: 6/10
Defended well on the rare occasions he had to, one of many who just failed to produce his best work in the final third.
Grant Leadbitter: 3/10
Gave away the ball under little to no pressure far too often.
George Dobson: 5/10
Saw plenty of the ball, but barely troubled the National League team with it, almost all his passes were sideways, and even in trying to play safe, Dobson still managed to cost his team a goal giving the ball straight to the opposition.
Denver Hume: 5/10
Ctrl+C from last season: Hume’s great first touch, pace and quick feet got him into great positions and offered a great alternative to Sunderland’s otherwise one-paced attack. The one problem was every time Hume got into dangerous areas, his final ball was poor.
Elliot Embleton: 7/10
A rare bright light in a tepid, flat first half. So of course, Embleton suffered an injury after about half-an-hour.
Chris Maguire: 5/10
Scored a beauty, set up another great chance early on, but apart from that he looked miles off the pace.
Charlie Wyke: 3/10
About midway through the first half I forgot who was playing up front for us, that’s how anonymous Wyke was against a team of trialists. Wyke did get involved later on inexplicably back heeling to no-one when through on goal. He also missed a sitter to top things off in the second half.
(SUB) Dan Neil: 6/10
Looked too eager to impress initially and gave away the ball after his introduction. Improved in the second half and took up some great positions in-between the lines.
(SUB) Arbenit Xhemajli: 6/10
Hit the post with a cracking header, looked assured in possession and was aggressive on the rare occasions he had to defend.
(SUB) Jack Diamond: 7/10
Hung up a brilliant cross for Grigg’s goal. Was a constant threat and added an energy that was previously lacking from Sunderland’s stale possession-based football in the first half.
(SUB) Aiden O’Brien: 6/10
Pressed well and put in a good shift, without showcasing much of his attacking quality.
(SUB) Will Grigg: 7/10
Finished excellently to put Sunderland ahead - great assist for Scowen’s goal as well.
(SUB) Lynden Gooch: 7/10
Looked lively in his cameo, providing his usual industrious running.
(SUB) Morgan Feeney: 7/10
Didn’t have much to do in the middle of the Mackem defence, looked strong in the air and confident in possession the few times he was tested.
(SUB) Max Power: 7/10
Was a calming presence in midfield, read play well and helped Sunderland dominate the final half hour.
(SUB) Jordan Willis: 6/10
Missed a golden chance to add to Sunderland’s lead from a corner, comfortable in Sunderland’s defence.
(SUB) Josh Scowen: 7/10
Showed wonderful technique to score a stunner on the half-volley and added good tenacity in the middle of the park.
(SUB) Jake Hackett: n/a
Came on late to save Neil’s legs.
Man of the Match