Match ends, Sunderland 4, Gillingham 2.
Sunderland put their recent run of draws behind them as they returned to winning ways with an entertaining 4-2 victory over Gillingham.
Jack Ross' side claimed the lead after just four minutes, with Lee Cattermole stabbing home at the back post after Grant Leadbitter's corner was deflected into his path.
The Black Cats' lead lasted just two minutes, however, with Tom Eaves racing clear of the opposition defence to round goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin and stab home ahead of Tom Flanagan.
Flanagan gained revenge four minutes later, heading home another excellent corner from Leadbitter to ensure the game continued at a breakneck pace.
Neither defence was covering itself in glory and with the Sunderland backline proving every bit as incapable of dealing with set-pieces as the Gillingham back four, the visitors levelled for a second time five minutes before the break.
Sunderland's defenders failed to clear their lines, and while Leonardo Da Silva Lopes' shot was blocked, the ball broke kindly for an unmarked Brandon Hanlan to sweep home.
The game slowed slightly in the second half, but Sunderland's attacking prowess proved decisive as they claimed the lead for a third time in the 66th minute.
Lopes tripped Luke O'Nien as he was shaping to shoot from Reece James' cross, and Will Grigg side-footed home from the penalty spot to claim his first goal since a £4m move from Wigan.
O'Nien won another penalty with 13 minutes left, drawing a foul from Regan Charles-Cook, and this time Aiden McGeady stepped up to convert from the spot.
Report supplied by Press Association
- 30DunneBooked at 68mins
- 6CattermoleSubstituted forPowerat 89'minutes
- 23LeadbitterSubstituted forMcGeouchat 85'minutes
- 7MaguireSubstituted forGoochat 18'minutes
- 10HoneymanBooked at 54mins
- 33ByrneBooked at 59mins
- 17Da Silva LopesBooked at 65minsSubstituted forCharles-Cookat 68'minutes
- 20OldakerSubstituted forListat 74'minutes
- 10BurkeBooked at 34minsSubstituted forParrettat 90'minutes
- Matt Donohue
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Sunderland 4, Gillingham 2.
Attempt missed. Elliott List (Gillingham) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left.
Attempt missed. Tom Eaves (Gillingham) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left.
Substitution, Gillingham. Dean Parrett replaces Graham Burke.
Substitution, Sunderland. Max Power replaces Lee Cattermole.
Attempt missed. Barry Fuller (Gillingham) right footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high.
Corner, Gillingham. Conceded by Luke O'Nien.
Foul by Lynden Gooch (Sunderland).
Tom Eaves (Gillingham) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Corner, Gillingham. Conceded by Reece James.
Attempt saved. Tom Eaves (Gillingham) header from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.
Tom Flanagan (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Tom Eaves (Gillingham).
Substitution, Sunderland. Dylan McGeouch replaces Grant Leadbitter.
Lynden Gooch (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Luke O'Neill (Gillingham).
Attempt saved. Luke O'Neill (Gillingham) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top right corner.
Foul by Lee Cattermole (Sunderland).
Regan Charles-Cook (Gillingham) wins a free kick in the attacking half.