Sunderland moved up to fifth in the table after a convincing 3-0 demolition of Rochdale at a bitterly cold SOL on Tuesday evening. A first half brace from Lynden Gooch either side of a Rochdale own goal sealed the points for Phil Parkinson’s side who turned in a commanding display in difficult blustery conditions.
After the win on Saturday over Ipswich thanks to Chris Maguire's late goal the lads were quickly again back in action as Rochdale headed to Wearside. The game offered the lads the chance to move up the table again as both sides immediately above them Coventry and Portsmouth faced off meaning a convincing win for Phil Parkinson’s side could see them move up a spot.
There were no fresh injury concerns for Phil Parkinson and he named an unchanged side from the win over Ipswich. The visitors got the game underway kicking towards the North stand we quickly won possession and went direct looking for Wyke but the wind helped the ball back to the keeper. Then down the other flank we won a corner after good pressure from Wyke but Wright headed over. We forced another corner soon after when Hume’s cross was cut out but Maguire took it short and we wasted it.
We had our first real sight of goal just inside ten minutes when O’Nien crossed from the right for Lynden Gooch. The American took the chance first time but his side footed shot went wide of the post. Gooch did open the scoring a minute later after he converted after some great wing play from Maguire on the right wing. Maguire battled hard to fend off two challengers before driving a great cross into the area with Gooch bundled home with his left foot.
Sunderland doubled their lead five minutes later after capitalising on some sloppy Rochdale defending with Gooch picking up the ball unmarked in the midfield and charged forward with Sunderland having a man over. The American cut back inside and played the ball to Maguire who chipped a cross towards Charlie Wyke but he was beat to it by the Rochdale defender O’Connell who turned it into his own net.
Midway through the first half there was a clash as Wright challenged for the ball with the Rochdale striker which caused a bit of a skirmish which saw Anderson booked for the visitors. Sunderland were dominating the game and possession and another sweeping move saw Dobson pick the advancing O’Nien who's cross into the keepers arms at the front post wasn't as good as his first touch what preceded it.
Lynden Gooch got his second and Sunderland’s third just after the half an hour mark as Phil Parkinson’s side swarmed all over Rochdale. Chris Maguire was again the architect as he crossed for O’Nien who saw a shot blocked but the loose ball fell to Gooch who drove a low shot past the keeper.
We should have had a fourth just before half time after Maguire played in O’Nien but the wing back was denied twice by good saves from the keeper with shots from the edge of the box. It was as dominant a display you could hope for from Sunderland with the visitors unable to cope with the visitors not even registering a shot.
There were no substitutions at half time and we kicked off towards the North stand and immediately went onto the attack but a good passage of play involving Maguire switching the play from right to left eventually came to nothing with Hume losing possession. We soon had our first effort of the second half when Wyke chested the ball down for Gooch on the edge of the box but his half volley was held by the keeper.
Midway through the second half Sunderland’s performance went a bit flat and Rochdale managed a few ventures forward and even a shot with Jimmy Ryan stinging the palms of Jon McLaughlin with a powerful shot from outside the box. At the other end we had a penalty shout waved away Hume tumbled in the box under a challenge.
With twenty minutes remaining Phil Parkinson made his first change with Chris Maguire replaced by on loan forward Antoine Semenyo. Worryingly Maguire appeared to be slightly limping when he came off which is a concern given how well he had played. Parkinson made his second change of the game soon after when Lynden Gooch was replaced by Duncan Watmore.
Ten minutes from time the visitors had their best chance of the game as Sunderland failed to deal with a straight ball over the top. Ian Henderson latched onto the flick from Wilbrahim before out muscling Flanagan only for his attempted lob to beat McLaughlin and the cross bar. Parkinson then made his final change of the game with Kyle Lafferty replacing Charlie Wyke.
The game fizzled out with neither side threatening late on but the lads had already done enough to win the game in the first half. There was three minutes injury time but the lads just saw the game out keeping possession for another victory and clean sheet.
Final Score: Sunderland 3 Rochdale 0
ALS Man of the Match: Chris Maguire
Ratings vs Rochdale
By Daniel McCallum
Jon McLaughlin: (6/10): Quick off his line on a quiet night for the keeper.
Luke O’Nien: (7/10): Tidy on the ball and switched play well. Had a couple of decent chances, unlucky not to score.
Jordan Willis: (7/10): Provided a threat going forward and put some dangerous balls into the box. Sound defensively as always.
Bailey Wright: (7/10): Read the game well and did what was required of him without a fuss.
Tom Flanagan: (7/10): Excellent on the ball and wasn't challenged defensively.
Denver Hume: (6/10): Always attacking down that left-hand side, but crosses were not up to his normal today. Perhaps it’s time to give the lad a rest.
Max Power: (7/10): Sprayed the ball around with ease under pretty much no pressure all game.
George Dobson: (8/10): Great passing and energy, helped us press high early on and create chances.
Chris Maguire: (8/10): Instrumental in the first half where everything he did came off, including a beautiful cross for the first goal.
Lynden Gooch: (8/10): Scored a first half brace, pressed the defence well to carve out even more opportunities.
Charlie Wyke: (6/10): Led the line well, but didn’t look like scoring.
Antoine Semenyo: (6/10): Showed glimpses of potential with some good touches.
Duncan Watmore: (6/10): Helped us get further up the pitch when Rochdale finally put some pressure on.
Kyle Lafferty(N/A): Came on after 85 minutes and couldn’t impact the game which was already won.