Phil Parkinson enjoyed a dream home debut as Sunderland manager as his side cruised to an emphatic 5-0 win over Tranmere.
Parkinson could not have wished for a better start to first outing at the Stadium of Light, with his side establishing a three-goal lead in the opening 45 minutes.
Duncan Watmore got the ball rolling midway through the first half, racing on to Will Grigg’s through ball before sweeping a low first-time finish into the corner of the net.
Sunderland doubled their lead two minutes later, with Chris Maguire cracking a direct free-kick past a motionless Scott Davies after George Ray hacked down Watmore on the edge of the area.
The hosts’ third goal arrived six minutes before the interval, with Maguire releasing Watmore to cross from the right-hand side of the area. It was an inviting centre that was begging to be tapped home, and Lynden Gooch was on hand to apply the finishing touch.
Tranmere’s best chance saw Stefan Payne head against the post from a corner at the start of the second half, but Sunderland extended their lead even further with seven minutes left.
Marc McNulty cut the ball back from the byline after his initial effort had been saved, and Grigg stabbed home from close range.
There was still time for Sunderland to claim a fifth goal in stoppage time, with Luke O’Nien powering home a diving header after Maguire swung over a free-kick from the flank.