Sunderland 5-0 Southampton: Black Cats thump in-form Saints for second win

Jack Clarke ghosts in to head Sunderland in front against Southampton
Jack Clarke's opener was timed at 52 seconds for Sunderland

Sunderland blew away in-form Southampton to kickstart their Championship season in emphatic fashion at a raucous Stadium of Light.

Saints had won three and drawn one of their opening four games but never recovered once Jack Clarke stooped to head the home side in front in the first minute from a beautiful curling cross by Trai Hume.

The lead was doubled six minutes later when Pierre Ekwah took a pass on the edge of the box, was not closed down, and drilled a low shot which was deflected beyond a sprawling Gavin Bazunu by Flynn Downes.

Ekwah hammered in the Black Cats' third just before half-time, cutting out a Mason Holgate pass and curling a shot beyond Bazunu at his near post.

Bradley Dack put the game beyond any doubt when he tucked in Abdoullah Ba's cross from close range just after the break.

Teenager Chris Rigg capped a dominant second league win of the season with a cool header in injury time, despatching a teasing Jewison Bennette cross with ease.

Southampton only managed to trouble goalkeeper Anthony Patterson on limited occasions, with Holgate and Sekou Mara heading wide with two of their best opportunities.

The Saints' inability to break down the Wearsiders left boss Russell Martin frustrated, often with his head in his hands, as the hosts saw out a comfortable victory.

Sunderland boss Tony Mowbray has spoken of his desire to sign a striker, with Ross Stewart coincidentally now a Southampton player, but his side showed they might just cope without the Scot after a clinical display.

Jack Clarke's constant probing, Abdoullah Ba's defence-stretching runs and the cuteness of Dack around the box gave Mowbray's side a different dimension, while Ekwah's eye for goal is a welcome addition to his ability to command the midfield.

Conversely, Southampton have a wealth of striking talent to add to Stewart's arrival once fit, with multi-million pound signings Adam Armstrong and Che Adams around the squad.

However, they lacked the midfield control to utilise their attacking talent, and defensively looked shaky against a succession of clever crosses from the hosts.