Tranmere were thrashed by five to goals to nil as they travelled to the North-East to face Sunderland.
The hosts started quickly, with Will Grigg flicking a ball on inside the area which rebounded off the post and was cleared to safety.
Rovers settled down after that however and had the next big chance of the game as Kieron Morris had an effort parried by Sunderland’s Burge straight to Stefan Payne, but his goalbound effort was blocked.
Sunderland stepped it up a gear and were ahead shortly after, as Duncan Watmore fired home in the 24th minute.
The Black Cats doubled their lead just two minutes later, as Chris Maguire curled in a free-kick from the edge of the area.
Sunderland were entering 5th gear whilst Rovers were stuck in neutral, just a minute after the second goal Watmore skied a great chance to make it three.
They did make it three soon after, though. Watmore went through again before squaring for Lynden Gooch in the 38th minute.
Phil Parkinson’s Black Cats were purring and were only denied a fourth goal through the referee blowing for a foul after a mix-up between Davies and Ray.
After the break however, Rovers were on the front foot and were unlucky not to pull one back as Payne saw his header smack the post before rolling along the goal line and being cleared.
Connor Jennings and Manny Monthe again came close for Tranmere, but Sunderland were managing the game well and always looked a threat on the counter through McNulty.
Sunderland held firm however through The Rovers’ pressure and went on to add a fourth through the inextinguishable Will Grigg in the 83rd minute.
Luke O’Nien rounded off the scoring for Sunderland in the 88th minute as he headed in from six yards out to make it five.
Micky Mellon’s men were unlucky not to score after lively starts to the first and second half, but they ultimately lacked quality whilst Sunderland’s shone through on Phil Parkinson’s home debut as their new manager.
The Whites remain 20th, just outside of the drop zone and ahead of AFC Wimbledon by a solitary point.
They host Darren Moore’s Doncaster next on Saturday.
Picture by Eigenes Work under Creative Commons Licence