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Sunderland v Southampton - Sky Bet Championship - Stadium of Light

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Two Up, Two Further Up: Sunderland send the Saints packing with a 5-0 victory!

Tony Mowbray’s team turned on the style to see off Southampton on Saturday afternoon. What did our writers make of a remarkable game?

Photo by Will Matthews/PA Images via Getty Images

Andrew Smithson says…

A superb three points

The conditions were baking hot and the opposition were very strong, so I would’ve happily taken a point before kick off.

To ultimately hand out a beating was very pleasing, and I think it proved that the most enjoyable wins are the ones you least expect.

We’re capable of giving any side in this league a game, but to play such free-flowing football from the off and blitz a quality team in such a way was a real bonus.

Some good fortune along the way

All five goals had encouraging elements.

There were some good individual contributions, some clever movement and combination play and best of all, some superb finishing. However, the two that really pleased me were the second and fourth goals, because in previous weeks they would’ve felt unlikely.

We’ve been done in previous games by some very unfortunate deflections, but this time the ricochet fell for us, or that’s how it seemed when viewing Pierre Ekwah’s first effort, and the other came after we recycled the ball after a superb save.

Again, had our luck been down, that stop would’ve fallen kindly for a defender and been smashed clear, but not here.

We made it happen through having a pop and applying pressure, but when you’re getting the rub of the green to go with the work rate, it can take you a long way.

Another duff refereeing performance

The referee getting grief as he came off the pitch at half time despite our 3-0 lead should tell you a lot about his performance.

There were a series of baffling calls in both halves and against both sides, but the reason it’s a positive on this occasion is that it didn’t make a difference. However, had we lost, I think a few more questions would be being asked.

Lots more to come!

What a hectic forty eight hours or so.

A broadly positive deadline day and an all-action display sets us up nicely for the international break, with the mood a whole lot better than some would’ve had us believe on Thursday.

Oddly enough, I think there were moments against Southampton were we weren’t at our best, so to be able to win so emphatically and with the prospect of new arrivals getting settled in means the future looks more than decent.

There were times at 2-0 where I was worried about us jumping in, losing shape and making some iffy decisions in possession. Perhaps it’s to be expected when a young team finds themselves ahead unexpectedly, but we rode out that tricky period and if we can learn to slow it down in certain situations, we’ll be laughing.

The reaction to Chris Rigg’s goal showed that team spirit is high, and the will to improve is palpable too, so if Tony Mowbray can tweak a couple of little things here and there, the team can expect to produce more big victories going forward.

Sunderland v Southampton FC - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Robert Smith/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Anthony Gair says…

A fast start for Sunderland

Before kick off, I thought we’d be ultra defensive and hope to nick one on the break, so when Southampton got their corner and floated it across, all I could think was, ‘Here we go. Someone’s going to nut this in and off we go to a humiliating defeat’.

I was wrong, because we have a great team who love to play football.

Abdoullah Ba was immaculate for about sixty minutes and Jack Clarke wanted the ball all the time and terrified the living life out of their defence.

Scoring straight from their corner showed that our counter attacking is so much better than the rest of our game.

A local lad lives the dream

Chris Rigg…that’s the name.

Imagine being sixteen years old and bagging for Sunderland. In fact, I did that every day from the age of about seven, but imagine actually doing it.

He must be absolutely beside himself.

A great day for Mogga

It’ll be forgotten about, but Tony Mowbray and his team got it absolutely spot on yesterday.

When we got the ball, we did the easy stuff incredibly well and we were so potent going forward.

If he can get this side playing this well against teams who expect to be near the bottom of the league, we’ll get promoted.

Growing home attendances

41,000 is a magnificent crowd for the Championship and although we always aim to have a packed house, it’s unreal to see more and more of you turning up to the games every weekend.

Haway the lads!

Jon Guy says...

An excellent mindset from Sunderland

Given the week the players have had, the way they approached the game was brilliant.

We were totally switched on throughout and it was a really professional performance.

Midfield maestros

Dan Neil and Pierre Ekwah were immense.

Ekwah will grab the headlines for the goal and the way he battled and broke up the play, but Neil was the ideal foil.

He showed great awareness, some brilliant passing, and was involved in everything positive.

Jack Clarke running down the wing!

Clarke was electric on Saturday.

If the rumours were to be believed, he was upset at the rejection of Burnley’s bid, but he didn’t show it yesterday.

He’ll be worth far more than twelve million if he keeps this up, because he oozed class all afternoon.

Joy for Chris Rigg

What a way to end the game.

The smile on Rigg’s face lit up the Stadium of Light and summed up the way we all felt after that performance.

Sunderland v Southampton FC - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Robert Smith/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Malc Dugdale says...

Excellent Ekwah

Pierre Ekwah was immense yesterday and barring a couple of minor errors, he was everything we want in a quality midfielder, and his hammer of a left pin is beautiful to watch.

He possibly should’ve been named as man of the match, but he won’t care as it went to his good mate Jack Clarke.

What a performance, with two lovely goals, and I’m ignoring that own goal decision, too!

Jack Clarke stands tall

Clarke was the man of the match yesterday and his interview after the game showed how happy he is to be with us and how important it was for him to still be around after the transfer window closed.

He’s also very well spoken and his work rate was incredible yesterday, even against former Premier League defenders that were terrified by his pace and creativity.

He probably should’ve scored more than he did but what he did was simply beautiful, and I’m chuffed that he’s still ours.

Rigg and Bennette on the money

Even in the dying minutes when we were four goals up, we saw how much this team wants to prove they can contribute, all the way from the starting eleven to the substitutes.

The late trickery from Jewison Bennette was joyous, and for our youngest ever scorer in the league and cup to score from there with a header shows what he has to bring.

Bennette and Rigg are the future and the present is bright enough as it is.

A clean sheet and five at the other end

Southampton have scored loads of goals already this season and to keep a clean sheet whilst scoring five against this level of opposition is such a shot in the arm, especially after the challenges we’ve had to endure during the last seven days.

With those new signings to come, there are only two words that spring to mind: Ross who?

Michael Dunne says...

Ekwah steals the show

Take as many bows as you want, son! What a performance.

Ekwah is becoming our enforcer in midfield, and along with his two goals, he broke up the play countless times and started many of our attacks.

He’s gone from strength to strength and it’s exciting to see how his partnership with Dan Neil will develop as the season goes on. It’s also amazing to think that he hadn’t played senior football until he joined us.

What a player!

Ba rises to the challenge

It was great to see Abdoullah Ba show some of his potential.

He’s certainly got bags of ability but at times his decision making lets him down. He was far more consistent yesterday and was a constant thorn in the side of Southampton’s defence.

Hopefully he can kick on from here and become a regular feature of our team.

A valuable clean sheet

We looked so comfortable at the back and Luke O’Nien and Dan Ballard are probably one of the best defensive partnerships in the league.

As obvious as it sounds, if we can begin to keep clean sheets consistently, we’ll go close.

Sunderland’s youngsters shine again

What’s left to say about the fifth goal?

Jewison Bennette’s trickery and cross and Chris Rigg’s goal was such a fine way to finish a fantastic day.

It was a great moment for Bennette, who’s patiently been waiting for his chance. It was also great to see how the players celebrated with the two young guns!

Sunderland v Southampton FC - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Robert Smith/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images


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