Sunderland moved back into the Sky Bet League One play-off places thanks to Chris Maguire’s late strike, as they narrowly beat Ipswich Town at the Stadium of Light.
There was little to separate the sides in the first-half, with both teams struggling to create any clear cut chances.
Will Keane squandered the best opportunity for the visitors early on, when he was denied by an immense block from Bailey Wright.
Then, Charlie Wyke thought he had put Sunderland ahead, but his goal was chalked off for offside.
Sunderland dominated proceedings in the second-half and struck the woodwork twice.
First, Lynden Gooch hit the base of the post, before Wright cannoned an effort off the crossbar.
But just as it looked like it wouldn’t be Sunderland’s afternoon, the Lads’ pressure paid off in the 80th minute, when Maguire lashed a long-range strike into the bottom corner to send the Tractor Boys home empty handed.
Phil Parkinson made one change to his starting XI from last week’s clash with Portsmouth on the South Coast, with Tom Flanagan replacing the injured Joel Lynch in defence.
The lads started on the front foot, attacking a jam-packed Roker End, and it didn’t take long for them to create their first opportunity inside 10 minutes.
Maguire swung in a dangerous cross that was met by the head of Jordan Willis, but he could only nod wide under pressure.
The Tractor Boys responded though, and would have been ahead but for a last ditch block from Luke O’Nien to stop Myles Kenlock’s goal bound effort.
Sunderland thought they hit the front in the 11th minute when Charlie Wyke prodded home Maguire’s delivery, but it was ruled out for offside as the number nine wheeled away in celebration.
It required another outstanding block in the 20th minute, this time from Wright on his home debut, to deflect Will Keane’s effort from close range to safety.
James Norwood was next to take aim at Jon McLaughlin’s goal, but he fired wide from 25-yards with the ‘keeper at full stretch.
Sunderland raced out of the stalls in the second-half and created a golden opportunity just 30 seconds after the restart.
The Lads worked the ball down the right, before Luke O’Nien’s cross-come-shot found its way to Denver Hume, but the wing-back’s effort was blocked.
And the Black Cats went agonisingly close to an opener five minutes later as the noise inside the Stadium of Light cranked up a notch.
Lynden Gooch weaved his way past three Ipswich defenders, before cutting inside and unleashing a trademark left-footed strike that crashed against the base of the post.
The rebound fell straight to Wyke, but his tame effort from inside the six-yard box was straight at Tomas Holy.
Parkinson’s men continued to push for the opener, with skipper Max Power twice going close in a matter of minutes.
His first effort was turned behind for a corner, and from the subsequent set-piece he fired over from the edge of the area.
In the 70th minute, Wright almost made it a home debut to remember, but he sent an effort off the crossbar from 10 yards with the goal at his mercy.
But the Lads kept probing and finally broke the deadlock in the 81st minute through a thunderous effort from Maguire.
The ball dropped kindly to the midfielder on the edge of the box and he set himself, before firing a first-time rocket into the corner of the net, which was worthy of winning any match.
Sunderland survived a late scare when Flynn Downes volleyed over, as they held on to secure all three points in Sky Bet League One and get their push for promotion back on track.
Sunderland: Mclaughlin, Willis, Power, Maguire, Wyke, Gooch (McLaughlin 90), Flanagan, O’Nien, Dobson, Wright, Hume (Lafferty 80)
Subs not used: Burge, Ozturk, Watmore, Scowen, Semenyo
Ipswich: Holy, Donacien, Chambers, Wilson, Skuse, Norwood (Jackson 72), Nolan (Huws 72), Downes, Woolfenden, Kenlock, Keane
Subs not used: Norris, Earl, Judge, Sears, Dozzell
Attendance: 32, 726