Sunderland entertained Doncaster Rovers at the Stadium of Light on Good Friday and picked up a huge three points in their promotion push, bouncing back from the disappointment of last week’s defeat against Coventry City.
Here’s a review of the day…
Jack Ross’ and his team were watching on earlier in the day as all their promotion rivals, apart from Luton, were in action.
Charlton Athletic played first and lost 2-1 away at Oxford United despite taking an early lead through Lyle Taylor.
In the 3pm kick offs, both Portsmouth and Barnsley won 2-1. Pompey scored a last-minute winner that had a hint of offside and handball about it, while Barnsley lead for most of their game at home to Fleetwood.
Those results meant that Sunderland knew that they needed a victory against Doncaster, and they got it.
THE ROKER ROAR
After last week’s 5-4 defeat against Coventry City, Sunderland fans could be forgiven for feeling a little nervous ahead of the arrival of Doncaster Rovers.
Those early worries though were quelled early in the game as Aiden McGeady crossed for Charlie Wyke, who set-up Lewis Morgan to thunder the ball into the left corner.
That goal was greeted with the usual roar of approval, but just as we were about to restart the Roker End made another roar just to let the players know that they are with them all the way.
A BIG OVATION FOR THE BIG MAN
Charlie Wyke made it three goals in four games when he netted Sunderland’s second goal of the game.
This may not be the prettiest goal he has ever scored, but his ability to be in the right place at the right time was rewarded when Jimmy Dunne beat the keeper to a header and set him up.
Combine that with his overall play, and Wyke was deserving of his goal as he displayed himself as a true battering ram.
He came off for Will Grigg with 13 minutes to play and was given a rousing reception that his performance deserved.
SECOND IN THE COUNTRY
Sunderland were backed by another huge crowd and the attendance of 34,286 ranked second in the country, behind the crowd that Leeds United pulled in for their game against Wigan Athletic.
It must also be noted that our visitor’s Doncaster Rovers brought 2,326 of that total which is more than a quarter of their usual home gate.
With just one game to go, the Black Cats are now almost certain to hold the modern League One average attendance record, beating Manchester City’s average of 28,261 back in the 1998-99 season.
NO WAY THROUGH
Last weekend Sunderland let five goals in at home for the first time since 1981 when they lost 5-4 against Coventry.
That crazy game was the usual for Sunderland as we have had one of the sturdiest defences in League One all season.
Jack Ross decided to shake up his central defence pairing and brought Alim Ozturk and Jimmy Dunne back into the fray.
In addition to that, he welcomed back Lee Cattermole to central midfield and his experienced head made sure that the Sunderland midfield was a sturdier proposition.
A clean sheet was exactly the reaction the boss wanted, and it vindicated his decision to make a couple of changes to his back line.