The Kyri Louis-Dreyfus era got off to the perfect start as Sunderland sealed back to back League One wins with a 3-0 victory at the Pirelli Stadium.
Sunderland took the lead through a Grant Leadbitter strike from range and doubled the lead in the first half with a Lynden Gooch wonder strike. The home side were reduced to ten men as Joshua Earl received an early bath – Sunderland made the advantage count with a Charlie Wyke goal to wrap up the three points.
The lads travelled down to Burton on a high following the performances of Aiden McGeady and Wyke, a trip to Wembley confirmed and the announcement of Louis-Dreyfus’ arrival.
Lee Johnson made three changes and reverted to a 3-4-3 as Jake Vokins, Leadbitter and Aiden O’Brien replaced Callum McFadzean, Bailey Wright and Josh Scowen.
The first chance of the game fell to Sunderland as McGeady cut inside well from the left and found an open Lynden Gooch who fired an effort towards goal that was saved well by Ben Garratt.
Six minutes in, and Sunderland took the lead; McGeady played a quick free-kick to Leadbitter on the edge of the area and swept a shot through the bodies and into the bottom corner.
The hosts almost levelled five minutes later as a ball into the box was met by an unmarked John Brayford who should have done better with the header as Dion Sanderson did brilliantly to clear the danger.
Sunderland were finding a lot of joy down the right, and Gooch did well to pick out McGeady but was denied by the feet of Garratt.
The lads had started well going forward, and it was Aiden O’Brien who tried his luck a curling effort, but it just whistled past the far post.
With 15 minutes to play in the opening period, the lads doubled their lead. Leadbitter's corner was punched clear by Garratt and met by Gooch who unleashed a rocket from the edge of the area that clipped the bar and into the back of the net.
Johnson will have been delighted with this teams attacking efforts and had looked a threat throughout and were good value for their lead going into the break.
The first chance of the half sparked Lee Burge into action, and the keeper made a sensational save to deny Jonny Smith’s deflected effort as he flicked it onto the bar and out to safety.
Ten minutes into the second period Burton were reduced to ten men following a tussle between Hayden Carter and O’Brien; Earl got involved and pushed O’Brien into the stand and received his marching orders with his second booking.
Right on the hour mark, Burton hit both posts within seconds - Smith’s effort struck one post, and then Ryan Broom somehow hit the post from a yard out – a baffling few seconds of play.
Sunderland should have wrapped up proceedings with 20 minutes to play; Jordan Jones cut inside and forced Garratt into a smart save, and Wyke was quickest to react but could only hit the post.
Minutes after striking the post Wyke made amends, Jones slipped a lovely through ball to the striker who this time found the back of to net and sealed his 18th league goal of the season.
Jones’ pace was causing the Burton defenders all sorts of problems and the winger found Maguire wide right who cut back and would have made it four if it weren’t for a great save from Garratt.
Sunderland were in cruise control and professionally saw out the final stages which moved Johnson’s men back into the playoff spots.
Full Time: Burton Albion 0-3 Sunderland
ALS Man of the Match: Lynden Gooch
Sunderland: Burge; McLaughlin, Sanderson, O'Nien; Power (Maguire 85’), Leadbitter (Scowen 66’), Gooch, Vokins (Jones 67’); O'Brien, Wyke (Diamond 78’), McGeady (Winchester 66’)
Subs Not Used: Matthews & Neil