Sunderland went into the game against Rochdale knowing they really needed a win to get the season back up and running so the 4-1 victory was everything – and more – we could have wished for.
However, that convincing scoreline didn’t quite tell the whole story.
Once again, I felt Sunderland started slowly. In fact up until Sunderland’s opening goal I was getting more and more frustrated because Rochdale, in the first 35 minutes, had as much of the ball as we did and had a gilt-edged chance to take the lead.
Thankfully, Aaron Wilbraham totally lost his composure with only Jon McLaughlin to beat and saved Sunderland from going behind for what would have been the sixth game in a row and if that had happened, the game could have been totally different and who knows what the outcome could have been.
Once Josh Maja scored though, the shackles were off and in what seems like a blink of an eye, Sunderland were 3-0 up and went in at half-time with the job done.
Maja has had a great start to the season and been rewarded with the EFL Young Player of the Month award and while these individual honours are usually the kiss of death in the next game, Sunderland’s young striker added to his crucial first goal with a second just before the break to record his first ever double in a Sunderland shirt.
As well as Maja and fellow two-goal ace Lynden Gooch performed though, the best player on the pitch was Chris Maguire.
Maguire had a hand in three of the goals and his turn and cross field ball to help set up Gooch’s penalty was inspirational.
His quality lit up the game and if he can find real consistency and keep his confidence high, then he has nothing to fear in this division - the rest of the division should be fearing him.
Rochdale’s consolation goal might be viewed as a detail to some but not Jon McLaughlin who was clearly furious at being denied a clean sheet, not least because he deserved one but his anger showed just winning is not enough, standards shouldn’t drop even when 4-0 up and that is a great sign.