FIRST-HALF strikes from Phil Bardsley and Oumare Tounkara ensured Sunderland got their pre-season programme off to a winning start at York City.
Defender Bardsley and the young French striker put the Black Cats two goals up inside 33 minutes at Bootham Crescent, before substitute Jamie Reed halved the deficit from the penalty spot just after the hour.Related content
Sunderland boss Steve Bruce will have been satisfied with a comfortable win to ease his side into action after the summer break – and especially after seeing the central defensive duo of Michael Turner and Titus Bramble complete 90 minutes after missing much of last season with knee injuries.
Despite Bruce's pre-match indication that he would field three of his nine summer signings, only midfielder Craig Gardner made the journey, with Ahmed Elmohamady – who has made his loan move permanent – on the bench.
Sunderland’s other new boys are all expected to make their debuts on the Black Cats' tour of Germany, which gets underway at the weekend.
Simon Mignolet started in goal, with Bramble and Turner in front of him, with Anton Ferdinand at right-back and Bardsley on the left. Gardner partnered Lee Cattermole in central midfield, with Steed Malbranque on the right and Jack Colback on the left, while Kieran Richardson and Tounkara – who signed a new one-year contract last week – played up front.
Both sides struggled to get to grips with the greasy surface in the early stages but the first chance fell to Sunderland with only a couple of minutes gone, when Malbranque dispossessed centre-back Chris Smith and raced into the penalty area before squaring for Tounkara.
But the big striker was unable to collect the pass cleanly and York cleared.
Bardsley did put the Black Cats ahead on 13 minutes, however.
Richardson played the ball into his path as the defender burst into the box, and he checked onto his right foot before thumping a low shot past ex-Sunderland keeper Michael Ingham.
The visitors survived a scare 10 minutes later when Bramble – who looked rusty in his first game since recovering from knee cartilage surgery – gave the ball away to Matty Blair whose pass found Jason Walker, but his attempt to curl the ball into the top right-hand corner from 18 yards out clipped the bar and went over.
The Black Cats breathed another sigh of relief on 27 minutes.
Mignolet appeared to bring down Walker inside the penalty area, but referee Andy Madley awarded a corner rather than a penalty. Former Newcastle midfielder Patrick McLaughlin had to react quickly to clear off the line after the ball ricocheted off one of his own team-mates on the half-hour as Sunderland threatened from a corner.
But they did extend their lead three minutes later when Cattemole played a first-time pass into the left channel for Tounkara.
The striker steadied himself inside the penalty area before steering a low right-foot shot beyond Ingham and into the bottom right-hand corner.
Gardner brought a good diving save out of Ingham with a free-kick five minutes before the interval as Sunderland finished the half strongly.
The Black Cats were always in control in a second half disrupted by no less than 15 substitutions. Nevertheless, York did manage to pull a goal back in the 63rd minute when a clumsy tackle from Bramble brought down Reed to concede a penalty.
Reed stepped up to beat Trevor Carson from the spot, with his powerful shot beating the Black Cats' substitute keeper as he dived to his right.
Sunderland sub Craig Lynch was inches away from adding a third for his side just a minute after taking to the field, skipping past two challenges before hitting a low right-foot shot, but Ingham got a crucial touch to divert the ball wide.
YORK CITY: Ingham, Oyebanjo, McGurk (Parslow 62), Smith (Fyfield 62), Meredith, Walker (Purcell 58) McLaughlin (Moke 62), Kerr (Potts 62), Boucaud, Blair (Reed 58), Henderson (Chambers 58). Subs (not used): Musselwhite
SUNDERLAND: Mignolet (Carson 45), Ferdinand (Laing 83), Turner, Bramble, Bardsley (Adams 73), Malbranque (Elmohamady 61), Cattermole (Reed 80), Gardner (L Noble 80), Colback, Richardson (Lynch 80), Tounkara (Cook 61)
Referee: Andy Madley (West Yorkshire) Attendance: 5,148