A young Sunderland Under-23s team proved too strong for mid-table Wearside League club Hartlepool in tonight’s Durham Challenge Cup tie, played behind closed doors at Eppleton CW.
Sub Benji Kimpioka notched a second-half hat-trick to see off the visitors, who gave it a good go.
Jack Diamond came up trumps to give Sunderland a 14th-minute lead, firing home from 12 yards.
Trialist Dominic Moan could not quite get on the end of a Tommy Robson cross, but Sunderland doubled their lead from the spot, with Moan slamming home from 12 yards after being fouled by keeper Elliot Coils.
Dangerman Jamie Tumilty twice forced home keeper Michael Woud into saves before the break as Hartlepool rallied.
Sunderland brought on Kimpioka and Jean-Yves Poame at the break, and the former was to be the star turn, bagging a treble.
Kimpioka fired under Coils just after the hour mark, then worked an opening for Moan.
Rob Hammond cleared off the line to deny Moan, after he rounded keeper Coils.
Kimpioka’s second goal extended the lead to 4-0 with 12 minutes left, converting Josh Robson’s low, right-wing cross.
And the Swede soon completed his hat-trick, driving an effort through a crowded goalmouth to make it five.
Sunderland U23s: Woud, J Robson, T Robson, Bale (Hickey 60), Storey, Brotherton, Wright, Hackett (Poame 45), Diamond (Kimpioka 45), Allan, Moan. Subs: Young, Patterson
Hartlepool: Coils, Swales, Campbell, Osborne (J Snowdon 67), Hammond, Short, Mulvey, Naylor (M Snowdon 71), Gardner, Tumilty (Maddison 74), Blackburn. Subs: Connolly, Jones