IT was a five star performance from Sunderland who dominated at the Stadium of Light putting five passed Cheltenham Town to go top of League One.

Fans had said that although they could hardly fault their side’s start to the season, a hammering result was the only thing missing. They were rewarded in emphatic style.

While Cheltenham looked disjointed and fragile at the back, it was Sunderland’s movement and awareness that caused them all the problems. You’d be forgiven for thinking the two teams were divisions apart based on the first half performance.

It was a typically fast start from the Black Cats who have often demonstrated this season that it doesn’t take them long to move through the gears.

Sunderland had a glorious chance to take the lead within ten minutes as Carl Winchester’s floated ball over the top found Nathan Broadhead in acres of space. He rounded the goalkeeper but took the ball too wide. Ross Stewart was then teed up by Broadhead with the goal at his mercy but his effort was vitally blocked by Mattie Pollock on the line.

The ball was turned behind for a corner but the Black Cats instantly atoned for their errors in front of goal.

Aiden McGeady’s whipped corner in from the left was met by Australian Bailey Wright who rose highest and glanced his header into the far corner. A great moment for a defender who has been short of game time this season.

From there, Sunderland just put the game in cruise control and Cheltenham couldn’t handle it.

The lead was doubled when the Black Cats moved up the pitch with a lovely flowing move. Aiden O’Brien layed the ball right to Winchester while Nathan Broadhead was bursting through the middle. Winchester fed his run but Broadhead showed outstanding awareness to dummy the ball and let it run to the onrushing Stewart who slid the ball first time under the goalkeeper. A great move with a finish to match.

The Northern Echo:

Seven minutes before half time, the home side compounded the misery for Cheltenham who just couldn’t cope with their dominance. Broadhead was once again the architect of the next goal as he charged forward. The chance looked lost when he was crowded by three Cheltenham players but he once again knew his surrounding and dug the ball through for McGeady. The winger squad the ball to Stewart who had the freedom of the penalty box to finish the ball into an empty net to make it three.

In truth, Sunderland could have, and probably should have, had a fourth. The Black Cats were incisive with their balls over the top and Stewart was released this time. He brought the ball down, drew the goalkeeper and returned the favour for McGeady but he was crucially denied at the last second by Lewis Freestone with a sliding block.

Broadhead was close to capping off his brilliant first half with a goal as he struck with his weaker left post just passed the post.

In the second half, Broadhead was, again, agonisingly close to grabbing the goal to match his performance as a through ball fed the run O’Brien who’s reverse pass found Broadhead but the keeper Scott Flinders did well to come close and save the effort.

The onslaught continued as Cheltenham’s defence was once again caught by incisive balls in behind. Stewart beat Flinders to Wright’s dink over the top only to saw his effort blocked on the line by Freestone.

While the chances were never ending for the home side, the goals came like London buses. Two in two minutes.

A long corner found Corry Evans on 65 minutes who returned a low cross back across the box and found Luke O’Nien who slammed the ball home from 12 yards with his weaker left foot.

Straight from the kick-off, Sunderland returned possession and lofted a long ball for Broadhead who controlled in the box, turned away from his defender and he his shot brilliantly denied on the line. The rebound fell kindly for substitute Leon Dajaku who curling the ball into the top corner with a stream of stricken Cheltenham bodies around him.

The Northern Echo:

The oles’ started to ring around the Stadium of Light as the Black Cats comfortably saw the game out with little fuss. The only downside potentially being seeing Boradhead go off for the last five minutes of the game and they had to play out the remainder with a man down.

For the Black Cats, it’s ten wins out of twelve and six in a row on home soil. Based on tonight’s performance, they could take some stopping this season.