Doncaster Rovers 0-3 Sunderland AFC
Sunderland moved back into the top two in Sky Bet League One following a comfortable victory over Doncaster Rovers on Monday.
An electric start at the Eco-Power Stadium ensured the Lads gained an early advantage, with Ross Stewart keeping his cool from the penalty spot after six minutes.
Lee Johnson’s side continued to pepper the home side’s backline in search of a second, which arrived through Elliot Embleton moments before the break.
After setting up the second, Pritchard’s clever finish made it 3-0 with 50 minutes on the clock before Denver Hume’s tap-in was ruled out for offside.
Victory saw the Lads extend their unbeaten league run to eight games, with Sheffield Wednesday next up at the Stadium of Light on Thursday.
The Black Cats made several changes for the South Yorkshire match-up, as Thorben Hoffmann, Corry Evans and Leon Dajaku lined up against Rovers.
Lee Burge dropped to the bench as Carl Winchester (knock) and Nathan Broadhead (hamstring) missed out, with the latter set for a minimum of three months on the sidelines.
Sunderland started brightly and they led with six minutes played, as Stewart slotted home from the spot after Dajaku bamboozled the Doncaster defence and was fouled inside the box.
A sumptuous free-kick from Alex Pritchard almost doubled the tally before the 10-minute mark, but the playmaker’s curling effort whistled just wide of the post.
The Lads continued to bombard the beleaguered home side, with another Pritchard strike and a drive from Elliot Embleton amongst the shots raining down on Louis Jones’ goal.
A second arrived with 40 minutes on the clock, as Embleton rounded off a well-worked free kick after Tom Flanagan’s quick thinking found Pritchard.
The break offered little respite for Rovers and within five minutes of the restart, Sunderland had a third as Pritchard continued to steal the show.
Dennis Cirkin made his comeback on 57 minutes in place of Evans, with the former Tottenham Hotspur left-back making his first appearance since the start of November.
Last-ditch defending from Ben Blythe prevented Embleton from adding to his tally – and the post denied the 22-year-old seconds later, as the Black Cats refused to sit back and consolidate their lead.
Doncaster’s best opportunity arrived 25 minutes from time, however, Hoffmann stuck out a right arm to deny Branden Horton when a goal looked a certainty.
Hume made an instant impact and his first touch found the net, but an offside flag denied the substitute after Dajaku served up an unmissable opportunity.
Will Harris also entered the fray late on, but the damage was done and the Lads extended their unbeaten league run to eight games.
Doncaster Rovers: Jones, Knoyle, Olowu, Rowe, Smith, Hiwula, Dodoo, Horton, Hasani (Bogle 45), Blythe, Ravenhill (Gardner 61).
Subs not used: Dahlberg Barlow, Williams, Cukur, Faulkner.
Sunderland AFC: Hoffmann, Doyle, Wright, Flanagan, Evans (Cirkin 57), Neil, Gooch, Dajaku, Embleton, Pritchard (Pritchard 74), Stewart (Harris 82).
Subs not used: Burge, Alves, Younger, Hume, Kimpioka.