New manager David Moyes watched from the stands, evaluating the team as Sunderland beat Rotherham 2-1 in a pre-season friendly on Saturday.
A Fabio Borini stroke and a late goal from Charles N’Zogbia were just enough to secure the victory for the Black Cats at the New York Stadium.
Determined to win
Sunderland dominated large spells of the opening 45 minutes and were duly rewarded. Moyes would have been delighted to have seen his first Sunderland goal of his reign and it was scored by Borini on the half volley past Lee Camp, 27 minutes into the game stayed that way until the second half.
The Millers battled hard following the opening goal and even stepped up their attacking efforts. Despite being forced into making two changes towards the end of the first half, Rotherham continued to settle into their pace. Sunderland made one change at the break with Vito Mannone replacing Jordan Pickford.
Rotherham owned the pitch in the opening parts of the second half, and it took the Millars a matter of seconds to level after the interval. The ball fell kindly to Jerry Yates in the box after Sunderland’s back line failed to clear their lines, and he duly punished them.
Both sides were effective in creating chances, even with the club's under-23s regulars were offered a chance to impress. However, it was N’Zogbia 86th minute effort that was enough to give Sunderland the victory, sending both manager and traveling fans back to the North East in delight.
With Moyes a keen observer sitting in the stand just five hours after being officially announced as new manager, it was Paul Bracewell and Robbie Stockdale that took charge of proceedings and - despite making a number of choices - the starting line-up was certainly a strong one.
A packed away end in South Yorkshire were treated to a real glimpse of their new boss after the full-time whistle at Rotherham, as he made his way across the pitch to give the thumbs up to travelling Black Cats fans. Moyes was all smiles all they responded with a big round of applause; a good day indeed for the ex-Manchester United boss.
The former Everton boss will want to replicate the success he had with the Toffees, who were in a similar situation as Sunderland are now when he started his 11-year reign at Goodison Park. The Scotsman is determined to change the way of thinking on Wearside, to steer the club to a mid-table finish and avoid yet another relegation scrap.