Sheffield United 3-0 Sunderland: Black Cats deliver worst display of the season to deepen relegation fears
Sunderland delivered their worst display of the season in a heavy 3-0 defeat to Sheffield United.
John Lundstram, Richard Stearman and George Baldock were on the scoresheet in a one-sided game that left the Black Cats struggling in the bottom three of the table.
It could have been more; Sunderland off the pace from the first minute.
That the hosts were not out of sight by the half-time whistle was due only to their lack of ruthlessness.
Sunderland were appalling, producing what was, on the ball at least, their worst half of the campaign. Injury to Lewis Grabban saw Aiden McGeady return in a central role but the Black Cats gave possession away time and time again.
The hosts struggled to take advantage, Clayton Donaldson missing two good chances in the opening half an hour.
They took the lead on 36 minutes when the impressive Mark Duffy broke clear, cutting the ball across the box for Lundstram to stab home.
Jack O'Connell put a free header wide moments later from a corner as Sunderland continued to ride their luck.
They fared little better after the break, Stearman stooping in the box to head home a free-kick from Duffy on the hour mark. The former Wolves defender was completely unmarked as headed in via the inside of the far post. The Blades, strangely pedestrian before the break, were clearly scenting blood, committing bodies in attack and carving the Black Cats open at will.
It was little surprise when wing-back Baldock attacked a cross at the back post minutes later and thundered home a header to make it three.
Chris Coleman was forced to act then after surprisingly not making any half-time changes, using all three of his substitutions but seeing little discernible impact on the pitch.
From there on in Sheffield United took their foot off the pace and coasted home, the home support cheering every successful pass.
Sunderland showed little to suggest even a consolation goal was on the cards, Josh Maja heading well wide from a Matthews cross their only attack of note.
A woeful showing in front of a superb travelling support and one that will disturb the clearly appalled Coleman.