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Ross Stewart scores twice as Tony Mowbray makes winning start as Sunderland boss

Sunderland v Rotherham United – Sky Bet Championship – Stadium of Light
(Image credit: Owen Humphreys)

Ross Stewart scored twice to help secure a 3-0 win over Rotherham and get Tony Mowbray’s reign as Sunderland manager off to the perfect start.

Mowbray, who was only confirmed as Alex Neil’s successor on Tuesday night, witnessed a strong performance that saw the Black Cats claim a third win in the Sky Bet Championship.

Stewart struck the crucial opening goal in the 52nd minute and followed that up with a second in the 65th minute to put Sunderland on track for the points against the Millers.

And the impressive Jack Clarke, who had created the first two, scored himself with 20 minutes remaining to wrap things up following a Stewart assist.

Stewart’s brace arrived shortly after Sunderland had paraded the day’s three new signings at half-time.

Abdoullah Ba signed a five-year deal after moving from Le Havre, while Edouard Michut and Amad Diallo arrived on season-long loans from Paris St Germain and Manchester United respectively.

The trio can only have been impressed with the performance and noise levels on Wearside, where Mowbray was given a fantastic reception before kick-off from the 36,530 crowd.

And when Clarke beat his man down the left to deliver low into the area early on there was an indication of what would come.

With chants of ‘Tony Mowbray’s red and white army’ reverberating around the Stadium of Light, the home side kept putting Rotherham under pressure without forcing goalkeeper Viktor Johansson into a save.

Ellis Simms, on loan from Everton, controlled Alex Pritchard’s ball forward before firing powerfully and finding the side-netting.

Simms teed up strike partner Stewart to drill a low effort wide of the far post, with Rotherham struggling to come to terms with the tempo.

Stewart went even closer when he turned Lynden Gooch’s cutback goalwards after a good run to the byline, only for Millers defender Wes Harding to clear on the line.

And Rotherham’s Oliver Rathbone almost made Sunderland pay at the other end when goalkeeper Anthony Patterson was needed to make a strong save from the midfielder.

Patterson was alert again moments later when he made an even better stop to hold a Ben Wiles strike that was destined for the bottom corner.

As the first half wore on Sunderland finished the stronger without making Johansson work.

Sunderland continued to press after the restart and Danny Batth had already headed wide from close range before Stewart finally scored seconds later.

Clarke got to the byline and crossed low into the area for the Scotland international to wrap his foot first time around a finish that powered between Johansson’s legs six minutes into the second half.

Thirteen minutes later the same combination made it two. Clarke’s perfect pass with the outside of his right boot was perfect for Stewart to confidently finish at the back post.

And in the 70th minute Clarke scored himself, darting into the area with a lovely run before finishing low inside Johansson’s bottom-right corner.

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