Sunderland have claimed victory in Sam Allardyce's final game as manager, with a routine 3-0 victory over local side Hartlepool United.
The first 45 minutes proved easy for the Black Cats, with goals from Whabi Khazri and a brace from Jermain Defoe giving them a comfortable lead inside 20 minutes.
Hartlepool started the second half brightly, with Nathan Thomas clattering the post. Half chances from Rees Greenwood, Duncan Watmore and Rhys Oates followed but Sunderland did enough to claim the victory.
Near perfect start
Sunderland headed to Victoria Park knowing of Allardyce's imminent departure, and the side looked up to give their manager a parting gift. They managed to take the lead after seven minutes. The ball was played in from the right to Defoe, who did well to get the better of Aristote Nsiala and fired low past Trevor Carson.
It was almost two only minutes later when Jack Rodwell, who played in Defoe to tee up strike partner Fabio Borini. The Italian had a tough angle to deal but still managed to get the shot off, but he could only find the post.
Becoming a training exercise
It wasn't long until Allardyce's side made it two, and looked it was going to be a long night for Craig Hignett's side. Khazri did well to pick out Defoe, who fooled the defender before getting his shot off. That clattered back off the post but the winger was alive to the situation to slam home the move that he initially started.
Then, it was three. Borini's effort was well blocked by Carson, but he could do nothing as the ball was played back out to Defoe who swept it out of his reach and into the net.
Sunderland took their foot off the gas slightly after the third, though nearly added another just before half time. Rodwell took advantage of Hartlepool's questionable marking, taking a unmarked touch in the area, but he could only produce a good save from Carson.
Sunderland headed out for the second period a different team, with Allardyce making 11 changes, but it was Hartlepool who started brighter. Pool played a good ball in from the corner, and managed to find the head Thomas whose header beat Jordan Pickford, but ended up clattering the post.
Sunderland started to get themselves back into the game, and had some decent opportunities to add to the scoreline.
The first came from Greenwood, who has been impressing many in the development squad and was looking to do the same in the first-team squad. Greenwood made a good run along the edge of the area before letting rip, but it was straight into the arms of Adam Bartlett.
It was then the turn of Watmore, who produced a excellent run down the wing and cutting inside, yet the shot couldn't live up to similar standards as it was well over the target.
The final opportunity fell to the home side, a corner into the area was flicked up and a looping header from Oates looked to be causing Pickford problems, but he did well to tip it over the crossbar.