Sunderland 2-0 Doncaster Rovers
Sunderland returned to winning ways on Good Friday with a confident 2-0 win over Doncaster Rovers.
Wins elsewhere earlier in the day for Barnsley and Portsmouth ramped up the pressure, but Jack Ross’ side looked completely unfazed and the led early on through Lewis Morgan.
Charlie Wyke provided the assist for the on-loan Celtic man, and the creator turned scorer before the interval, with a simple finish handing the Lads a commanding advantage.
Doncaster struck the woodwork before the break and Bryan Oviedo returned the favour following the restart, but that proved to be that, as Sunderland shut up shop to clinch three points in the race for promotion.
Ross made four changes for the game, as Alim Ozturk, Jimmy Dunne, Lee Cattermole and Aiden McGeady were named in the starting XI.
And the Scot selected a strong bench, with Grant Leadbitter and Will Grigg joining the returning Chris Maguire and Lynden Gooch amongst the substitutes.
Linked with a move to Wearside in January, John Marquis threatened first for Doncaster, but just as he looked to pull the trigger, the top scorer was eased off the ball by Ozturk.
Moments later, Morgan shattered the deadlock.
Wyke proved too much to handle and the striker towered above two defenders to nod the ball down to the winger, and he rattled an unstoppable finish beyond Marko Marosi.
Morgan continued to menace, and he sliced through Doncaster lines on 17 minutes, but George Honeyman’s resulting effort was well-blocked by the recovering defence.
Brave goalkeeping from Jon McLaughlin ensured parity remained shortly after, but the same can’t be said for what happened at the other end following the half-hour mark.
Marosi opted to come for a long ball into the box and got nowhere near it, with Dunne’s header looping towards goal where Wyke tapped home Sunderland’s second of the game.
Danny Andrew came closest for Doncaster before the break, with the left-back’s wicked free-kick striking the outside of the post.
And the same spot was left shaking five minutes into the second period, as Oviedo drove down the left and fizzed a low strike against the woodwork.
Tommy Rowe was denied by McLaughlin soon after, with Marosi forced into a fine save to deny Wyke his second of the game, before Gooch made his return from injury late on.
With three points in the bag, Sunderland switch their attention to Easter Monday’s trip to Peterborough United.
Sunderland: McLaughlin, Dunne, Ozturk, O’Nien, Oviedo, Cattermole, Power, Honeyman, Morgan, McGeady (Gooch 75), Wyke (Grigg 77).
Subs not used: Ruiter, Maguire, Flanagan, Leadbitter, Hume.
Doncaster Rovers: Marosi, Andrew, Butler, Whiteman (Crawford 45), Marquis, Rowe, Kane, Blair, Wilks, Coppinger (May 45), Downing.
Subs not used: Jones, Anderson, Smith, Sadlier, Lewis.