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.
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.