Sunderland recorded a one-sided victory over Rochdale as they came away 3-0 winners.
It’s a result that strengthens the Black Cats’ play-off position as they approach the final third of the season.
Phil Parkinson named an unchanged starting XI from Saturday’s 1-0 victory over Ipswich Town, while Brian Barry-Murphy made two alterations from the 1-1 draw with Doncaster Rover.
It was a Sunderland who certainly had the better of the opening period with Bailey Wright heading over from a corner inside four minutes.
The home side continued to press early doors and went close again as Lynden Gooch volleyed wide after a cross from Luke O’Nien.
Rochdale should have learned from this pattern of play, but instead they found themselves 1-0 down after 11 minutes when Chris Maguire found Gooch in the area who converted.
Sunderland doubled their lead moments later when Maguire’s cross was sliced into the back of the visitors’ net by Eoghan O’Connoll.
Despite an early double setback, Rochdale stuck to their principles of playing out from the back, but in truth it only served to invite more pressure from the high press of the hosts.
The visitors looked to rally as they enjoyed their best spell of the game so far, but the result was put firmly to bed after 30 minutes when Gooch swept home after O’Nien’s effort was parried by Robert Sanchez to the feet of the American.
The first half totally belonged to the Black Cats, but they did suffer a scare when a misplaced pass from Max Power set Matt Done free to run at the defence, however he was denied by a wonderful challenge from Bailey Wright.
Sunderland looked equally as dominant in the second period as they dictated play from the off.
Rochdale appeared to be much more organised and afforded Sunderland very few opportunities to penetrate in the final third.
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In truth, the second half was something of a formality as the Black Cats dropped their intensity with a number of key games on the horizon.
Antoine Semenyo was afforded some game time as he looks to adapt to life at the Stadium Of Light, while Duncan Watmore and Kyle Lafferty were also given as run-out.
But as Sunderland went through the motions in the closing stages there was only going to be one winner as the Black Cats turn their attention to a tricky Saturday test against Oxford United.
FULL-TIME: Sunderland 3-0 Rochdale