Sunderland 5-0 Morecambe
Sunderland strolled to a 5-0 win against Morecambe, with Lee Johnson’s men barely getting out of third gear.
Sunderland took the lead through Ross Stewart in the 12th minute, as the Scottish striker finished off Lynden Gooch’s excellent work down the wing, though Morecambe’s keeper will be disappointed with the goal conceded.
The lead was doubled just moments later, with Gooch providing another goal. His lofted ball was headed in by Nathan Broadhead to make it 2-0 on 16 minutes.
Alex Pritchard grabbed the third goal ten minutes after half time as Dan Neil turned expertly and put the ball on a plate for the diminutive midfielder, killing the game off.
Broadhead scored his second of the night, and Sunderland’s fourth, using some fancy footwork to create a half-chance out of nothing and finishing into the bottom corner in the 67th minute.
In the 85th minute, with the game already won, Leon Dajaku got in on the act as the German cut onto his left foot, and his effort took a wicked deflection and looped over the helpless Letheren’s head.
It was a must-win game for Sunderland, who went into the midweek clash two points off the top spot, but could also have dropped all the way down to 8th.
Lee Johnson named an unchanged starting eleven from Saturday’s draw with Oxford.
Stephen Robinson made four changes from Morecambe’s last league game, where they were beaten 4-0 by MK Dons. Cole Stockton, Arthur Gnahoua, Aaron Wildig and goalkeeper Kyle Letheren came into the side.
Sunderland started the game brightly, with Nathan Broadhead coming close after five minutes and winning a corner.
On the left wing, Lynden Gooch left Ryan McLaughlin for dead and fizzed a low cross into the box, which Stewart got on the end of. Letheren got a hand to it, but fumbled the shot over the line.
Gooch was instrumental once more, producing a pin-point cross for Broadhead to head home unmarked.
Morecambe’s first chance came on the counter attack, as the cross came in and Gooch switched off at the back post. Aaron Wildig inexplicably put his shot over the bar from close-range.
Morecambe then had the ball in the net, but it was rightly ruled out for offside. Greg Leigh’s low cross was converted by top scorer Cole Stockton; the linesman’s flag instantly went up though.
Leon Dajaku beat his man with ease down the right flank, and found Ross Stewart unmarked in the box. The striker squandered the chance though, putting his effort wide.
Broadhead broke free from a Morecambe free kick and ran the length of the pitch, but the attack fizzled out and Gooch’s take effort was eventually saved.
At half time Morecambe made two changes. Callum Jones and Arthur Gnahoua were replaced by Toumani Diagouraga and Courtney Duffus.
Diagouraga saw the first chance of the second half, flashing his close-range effort just past the post.
Dan Neil broke into the box and created space with an excellent turn, before cutting it back to Pritchard to make it three before the hour mark.
Johnson made his first chance, bringing off Carl Winchester and introducing the more attacking Elliot Embleton.
Soon after, Robinson’s third and final change came in the form of Adam Phillips replacing Wildig.
Broadhead twisted and turned in the box, creating a chance out of nothing for himself, and fired into the bottom corner beyond Letheren.
The yellow card was shown for the first time after 70 minutes, with Ayunga booked for a foul on Stewart.
With the game dead and buried, Leon Dajaku cut in from the right and his effort was deflected massively, looping over Letheren and into an empty net.