Six things: Low-key Stadium of Light debut for Stewart Donald as youngsters lead the way

If only every home game could be like this...Sunderland thumping champions Wolves 3-0 to end a dismal season on a high.

Sunday, 6th May 2018, 7:09 pm
Updated Sunday, 6th May 2018, 7:11 pm
Ashley Fletcher celebrates his goal with Robbie Stockdale.

The Black Cats thoroughly deserved victory at a sun-kissed Stadium of Light.

Wolves finished the season top, with Sunderland heading to League One but you'd never have known there was such a gulf in class based on this performance.

Ovie Ejaria in action for Sunderland against Wolves. Pictures by Frank Reid.

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Youngsters lead the way

George Honeyman, Lynden Gooch, Ethan Robson, Joel Asoro and Josh Maja have all broken through this season.

Against Wolves, Robbie Stockdale introduced the next wave of youngsters; Luke Molyneux started, Elliot Embleton, Denver Hume and 16-year-old Bali Mumba coming off the bench.

A huge summer of rebuilding lies ahead but the academy continues to produce a steady stream of players.

A number of those youngsters will have a prominent role to play in League One, with a spine of experienced campaigners alongside them.

Victory over Wolves doesn’t deflect from dismal campaign.

It was a nice way to end the season. A 3-0 win in the sunshine over champions Wolves in front of your home support.

But it doesn’t disguise the fact that the 2017-18 campaign has been the worst in the club’s history.

Despite being relegated to the third tier, Sunderland could still rely on a superb home support and atmosphere.

The potential waiting to be unlocked again at Sunderland is huge.

The club will have to rebuild in League One but at least a line can now be drawn under this dire season.

Stewart Donald makes his Stadium of Light debut.

It was a low-key debut for Donald. Whisked in through a side door, Donald watched the game alongside his family in an executive box.

He didn’t sit amongst the fans - not this time at least - but he will have been impressed by the Sunderland performance.

Donald, though, will be all too well aware this has been far from the norm at the Stadium of Light, victory over Wolves only the third at home this season.

It will be up to him and his consortium members to bring the good times back to Wearside on a regular basis.

Final game for several players.

The Wolves victory will prove to be the final game for a host of Sunderland players. John O’Shea and Marc Wilson are out of contract and will likely be leaving Wearside.

Bryan Oviedo will almost certainly depart, while Ashley Fletcher and Ovie Ejaria will return to their parent clubs along with Lee Camp and Jake Clarke-Salter, who were on the bench.

Sunderland will be hoping they can hold on to the likes of Paddy McNair and Joel Asoro but a huge summer overhaul lies ahead.

Kazenga LuaLua’s first Sunderland start snatched away.

It summed up Kazenga LuaLua’s Sunderland spell perfectly.

He was named in the starting line-up to face Wolves but had to withdraw through an injury picked up in the warm-up.

Out of contract, he too will almost certainly be leaving this summer. Aside from the odd sub appearance, Sunderland fans never got to see the best of LuaLua.

Struggling to keep fit following injury problems, it summed up his spell and Sunderland’s recruitment problems in recent seasons.

Asoro and Fletcher catch the eye.

There were a number of positive performances, not least from Asoro and Fletcher.

Asoro is still to sign his new contract and it is of paramount importance that he commits his future. He has proved he is capable of playing at least Championship level. Asoro would be a major weapon in League One.

Fletcher, after a dreadful start to his Sunderland career, has blossomed in recent weeks. Shame it came too late for him and the club.

If Sunderland could entice him back and it was possible financially, Fletcher would be a threat in League One.