Sunderland AFC 3-0 Rotherham United
Sunderland began life under Tony Mowbray with a dominant display at the Stadium of Light, putting Rotherham United to the sword by three goals to nil.
A first half spent on top was only missing a goal for the Lads on Wearside, before a ruthless second 45 minutes saw Ross Stewart convert two Jack Clarke deliveries, before Clarke himself got in on the act with a terrific goal to condemn Rotherham to their first league defeat of the season.
Mowbray oversaw an unchanged side to the XI narrowly beaten by Norwich City at the weekend, and the Lads started immediately on the front foot with a large majority of the ball.
In terms of efforts towards goal, Dan Neil and Alex Pritchard both fired just off target – the latter from an enticing free-kick – whilst Stewart was denied a certain goal by Wes Harding’s crucial block. Ellis Simms also fizzed a shot across goal after creating space on the right-hand side of the area.
Stewart then rose to send a looping header just over the top as the half wore on, followed by an ambitious strike from Neil which sailed off target but showed the initiative of Mowbray’s side.
Rotherham did muster three attempts of their own whilst on the break, as Anthony Patterson got down well to his right to deny both Ben Wiles and Conor Washington, and visiting captain Richard Wood saw a ricochet take him by surprise and deflect off target.
The half-time interval brought the Wearside faithful into raptures, as the trio of the day's summer signings - Amad, Edouard Michut and Abdoullah Ba, alongside last week's recruit Jewison Bennette - were introduced on the pitch ahead of an exciting season.
After the break, the Lads finally did get their just rewards. After Danny Batth had headed Pritchard’s delivery inches past the post, the hosts hunted again and after Dennis Cirkin found Clarke, the wide man burst onto his left foot before picking out Stewart, who made no mistake in converting the opener.
And shortly afterwards, the same combination worked to make it two. Clarke once more got away down the left flank and delivered an inch-perfect pass to the far post, Stewart on hand to clinically thrash home a second despite the gloves of Viktor Johansson.
Sunderland were in free-flowing mood by midway through the second half, and soon came the third in emphatic style through Clarke, who this time cut inside on his right, holding off two defenders in the process, and rolling in to finish an incredible passage of play.
Try as they might, the Millers were unable to get near the Lads for the final stages, and an intervention from Jamie McCart prevented it being four via Simms, following Patrick Roberts’ intricate through pass.
It finished three to the good for the Black Cats in SR5, and the Mowbray reign is off to a hugely positive start.
SUNDERLAND AFC: Patterson, Gooch, Batth, O’Nien, Cirkin, Clarke (Wright 83’), Evans ©, Neil (Embleton 88’), Pritchard (Roberts 66’), Simms, Stewart.
Subs not used: Bass, Matete, Hume, Alese.
Rotherham United: Johansson, Harding (McCart 75’), Wood ©, Peltier, Norton-Cuffy, Rathbone, Barlaser (Lindsay 75’), Wiles, Ferguson (High 68’), Ogbene (Kelly 75’), Washington (Eaves 63’).
Subs not used: Vickers, Odoffin.