Joel Asoro plundered a clinical hat-trick as Sunderland roared into the fourth round of the FA Youth Cup with a super 5-1 away win at Mansfield Town last night.
It was Sunderland’s first game for three weeks following two postponed games due to the recent bad weather, but there was no sign of rustiness whatsoever in a fast start at the One Call Stadium.
Asoro had a curling effort turned wide by Mansfield keeper Sam Wilson early on, before captain Dan Pybus was denied by a good save, then Elliott Embleton followed with a shot into the side netting.
The Wearsiders finally took the lead on the half hour mark when Luke Molyneux cut in from the right flank to curl a wonderful, left-footed shot past keeper Wilson into the far corner of the net.
However, the lead was shortlived as Mansfield made an instant comeback, when Devante Reittie executed a magnificent long-range strike into the top corner of Greg Purvis’s goal.
Sunderland went close to regaining the lead when a great cross from Molyneux found Andrew Nelson, but the striker’s header just flew past the post.
Sunderland were not to be denied, though, and they were back in front two minutes before the interval with a brilliant goal by winger Asoro, who cleverly lost his marker and placed his shot into the bottom corner.
Two minutes into the second half, Sunderland doubled their advantage when the tricky Asoro scored his second goal, this time beating Wilson easily from a brilliant, defence-splitting pass into the box.
The young Black Cats took command of proceedings and Wilson had to make a stunning save to keep out a Nelson effort on 69 minutes, tipping the ferocious shot around the post.
Zayn Hakeem almost threw the home side a lifeline as Mansfield rallied, but he scuffed his effort just wide.
It was a good opportunity to reduce the arrears, and the Stags paid the penalty when Sunderland confirmed their superiority with a fourth goal in the 78th minute, Pybus drilling a terrific 25-yard strike past the keeper.
Hakeem again went close for Mansfield with a left-footed effort, but they had been well beaten and the visitors made it a fabulous five in the last minute, when Asoro claimed his hat-trick.
Coach Elliott Dickman said: I’m really pleased with the wonderful display – the lads have done great, especially after their enforced lay-off.”
Sunderland will host Norwich in the fourth round, a tie to be played by January 16.
Mansfield: Wilson, Bloor, Danquah, Marriott, Ratcliffe, Harrison, C Smith (Gibson 81), Healey (Shaw 81), Blake, Reittie (Baldwin 63), Hakeem. Subs not used: A Smith, Hampson
Sunderland (4-4-1-1): Purvis, J Robson (Gamble 85), Taylor, Casey, Hume, Molyneux, Pybus (Bale 81), Wright, Asoro, Embleton, Nelson (Y Poame 81). Subs not used: Storey, Woud
Ref: Robert Sherwood