Burton Albion 0-3 Sunderland: Emphatic win for Black Cats 
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images 

Sunderland's renaissance under new owner Kyril Louis Dryfus got off to a flying start away to Burton Albion

The 23-year-old's takeover was confirmed on Thursday and had been heavily rumoured with him attending Sunderland's three games prior to the conformation. 

He was in the stands at the Pirelli and will have been pleased with goals from Grant Leadbitter, Lyndon Gooch and Charlie Wyke which kept his side in the League One play-off positions. 

Story of the game

Sunderland made four changes to the side that edged past Lincoln City in the EFL Trophy on Wednesday. The defensive crisis was worsened on Wednesday with Bailey Wright being forced off.

It meant Lee Johnson only had one fit centre back at his disposal and even Dion Sanderson prefers to play at right back. He formed a makeshift back three alongside Luke O'Nein and Conor McLaughlin with Lyndon Gooch and Southampton Loanee Jake Vokins on the flanks. Up top dynamic duo Aiden McGeady and Charlie Wyke were joined by Aiden O'Brien to form a front three in a 3-4-3 formation. 

As for Burton, they were without top scorer Kane Hemmings but still had Lucas Akins up top who was bound to pose a threat to Sunderland's makeshift backline. 

On paper the game looked a routine win, Burton were bottom of League One but under recent appointment Jimmy Floyd Hasslebaink they were enjoying a resurgence. 

The first chance of the game fell to Sunderland. Good play but Aiden McGeady on the left hand side switching to Lyndon Gooch on the right who was free, but it was a tight angle and it would have been difficult to beat Ben Garratt

On their next attack they got their early lead. A long ball had lead to Josh Earl to foul O'Brien. From the resulting free kick Aiden McGeady layed it off to Grant Leadbitter on the edge of the box and he sweeped it beyond the crowd into the bottom left corner. 

It was quick thinking from McGeady but also great awareness from Leadbitter who had to quickly adjust his body to take the shot under increasing pressure. 

Burton's could only muster half chances usually from set pieces. A deep free kick found John Brayford free at the back post, his header across would have been dangerous had Sanderson not been active to put it behind for a corner. 

They were growing into the game though without creating any real chances. Sunderland always looked more dangerous on the break. They created a great opening on the break. Gooch aware his man Earl is on a yellow drove forward before cutting it back for McGeady on the penalty spot but a mix of a Burton defender and Garratt's feet kept it out. 

They went close again seconds later. Aiden O'Brien picked the ball up on the left and drove inside curling an effort from 25 yards out just past Garratt's right hand post. 

Sunderland looked confident and were pressing well as a team growing into the game. 

But a moment of confusion nearly allowed Burton to get level. The lineswoman raised her flag thinking Brayford had played the ball in an offside position, but quickly back down realising she was mistaken. Sunderland had stopped and Burton had played the ball into Akins in the box, it was half cleared to the edge of the box but the onrushing Shaun Clare scuffed his shot onto the head of Johnny Smith but it was an easy save for Lee Burge

The game then had a lull with the only real chance of note being when Brayford got to the byline down Burton's right his cutback would have been a certain goal had a yellow shirt connected but it was just behind the two players steaming into the box and cleared by Sunderland looking to counter. Gooch looked to slip in O'Brien but the pass was too heavy and John Bostock cleared. 

Sunderland continued to push for a second. A good spell of play ended with a cross to Vokins who couldn't connect and it fell to McGeady who shifted onto his left but his shot was well blocked. 

From the resulting corner it was two. The ball was only half cleared by Burton to Lyndon Gooch who shifted onto his left and clattered a shot off the underside of the bar and in to double the lead. 

It took fourty minutes for Burge's first meaningful save. Johnny Smith was Burton's bright spark especially on the ball. He cut inside and unleashed a low effort from twenty yards but Burge got down and held well. 

Sunderland's next chance fell to Vokins. He was getting up in attack well, he found himself free in the box from a McGeady cross but his lack of attacking prowess showed and he spooned it wide with the goal at his mercy. 

Lee Johnson will have been overjoyed with the first half, Sunderland controlled the game, played well, passed well, pressed well and most importantly scored two good goals. 

The first chance of the second half fell to Max Power from range. Known for his prowess from distance optimistic fans might have expected an effort of note but he dragged it harmlessly wide. 

Burton had come out with more intent than throughout the first half. They had their best chance of the game within five minutes of the restart. Johnny Smith again at the heart of it cutting in on his left and firing a shot that Lee Burge had to acrobatitly tip onto the crossbar. 

Burton were reduced to ten after 55 minutes. A harmless ball was chased by O'Brien and Carter. There seemed to be afters once the ball was out before the already booked Josh Earl came over and pushed O'Brien over the hoarding into the stands and was given his marching orders by referee Craig Hicks

Despite being down to ten Burton created their best chance. Smith cut in again and flashed a shot across Burge and off the post. It rebounded back out and Ryan Broome looked like having an tap in but in trying to beat Burge he managed to hit the other post. 

From then on Sunderland controlled the tempo. Substitute Jordan Jones cut in from the left released a twenty yard effort which bounced in front of Garrett forcing him to parry straight to Wyke but he could only hit the post from an acute angle. 

But Wyke wasn't to miss a second time. Jones was bright moving across the pitch and slipped a reverse ball through to Wyke who one on one with the goalkeeper in the form of his life couldn't miss slotting his effort into the bottom left hand corner via the post for his eighteenth goal of the season. 

The game fizzed out with Burton accepting defeat and Sunderland taking their foot off the gas ahead of a big game against Fleetwood on Tuesday. 

Man of the match - Aiden McGeady 

When on form Aiden McGeady is among the best in the league. He's enjoying his football and it is showing. He was just too sharp for Burton with his quick feet and movement grabbing an assist for Leadbitter with quick play. 

When he was subbed after 60 minutes Sunderland didn't look the same team, their passing wasn't as quick and they didn't carry the same threat as before. 

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