Sunderland AFC 5-1 Cambridge United
Sunderland produced a ruthless display on Wearside to defeat ten-man Cambridge United on Saturday.
Carl Winchester limped off early on at the Stadium of Light, but the Lads quickly dusted themselves down and opened the scoring through Ross Stewart.
The Scotland international remained calm under pressure in front of the Roker End, dispatching his 23rd goal of the campaign from the spot after Lloyd Jones was sent off.
A moment of magic from Elliot Embleton made it 2-0 before the half-hour mark, but Cambridge struck back immediately through Paul Digby to reduce the arrears.
Stewart restored the Lads’ two-goal cushion on 36 minutes, with Broadhead adding a fourth eight minutes after the restart.
Danny Batth’s first goal for the club made it 5-1 with 20 minutes remaining, as the Black Cats eased to victory in front of 32,500 on Wearside.
Alex Neil made three changes to the Lads’ penultimate Stadium of Light XI, as Danny Batth, Lynden Gooch and Patrick Roberts replaced Dennis Cirkin, Jay Matete and Jack Clarke.
Midfield maestro Alex Pritchard returned to the squad and was named on the bench, but the Black Cats were dealt a blow inside six minutes when Winchester limped off.
The Northern Ireland international had lined up at left-back in Cirkin’s absence, with Callum Doyle taking up the mantle with less than 10 minutes on the clock.
The early drama continued when play restarted and Jones was sent off for a rash challenge on Stewart, as the Black Cats were awarded a penalty in front of the Roker End.
A pressure spot kick, the Scotland international had ice in his veins to convert and open the scoring.
Roberts should have doubled the advantage with 21 minutes played, but after taking the ball in his stride and bearing down on goal, the winger struck straight at Dimitar Mitov.
Embleton had the ‘keeper scrambling moments later, as the siege continued and his curling effort bent just wide of the post.
Mitov was scrambling once again before the half-hour mark, but this time he was beaten.
Persistent play from Doyle won a free-kick on the left and Embleton stepped up, curling an incredible free-kick over the stopper and into the net from an almost impossible angle.
Cambridge responded immediately through Digby, who battered a half-volley past Anthony Patterson from 10 yards.
The Black Cats restored their two-goal lead on 36 minutes, as Stewart controlled the ball and swivelled before slamming a low finish into the net.
And they could have added to their tally before the break, as brave last-ditch defending from the visitors ensured it remained 3-1 at the halfway point.
Broadhead’s 12th goal in 23 games made it four with 53 minutes played, with the striker powering a header beyond Mitov after connecting with a pinpoint delivery from Gooch.
The Everton loanee was replaced before the hour mark, as Pritchard made his comeback following a three-week absence.
Roberts grabbed an assist with 20 minutes remaining and Batth grabbed his first goal, as the duo combined and the defender headed home at the back post.
Luke O’Nien should have added a sixth late on when he headed straight at Mitov, but victory was sealed well before as sights now fix on Tuesday’s Wearside finale against Rotherham United.
Sunderland AFC: Patterson, Winchester (Doyle 10), Wright, Batth, Gooch, Roberts, Evans (Neil 66), O'Nien, Embleton, Broadhead (Pritchard 59), Stewart.
Subs not used: Hoffmann, Clarke, Matete, Hume.
Cambridge United: Mitov, Williams, Okedina, Jones, Iredale, May, Digby, Smith (Bennett 55), Knibbs (O’Neil 63), Brophy, Ironside.
Subs not used: Hoolahan, Tracey, Lankester, Mannion, Worman.