Phil Smith's player ratings: 'Flawless' Luke O'Nien stars as Sunderland secure vital victory at Bristol Rovers

Sunderland claimed a valuable three points on the road at Bristol Rovers - but how did the players perform?

Saturday, 23rd February 2019, 4:15 pm
Updated Saturday, 23rd February 2019, 4:17 pm
Luke O'Nien caught the eye for Sunderland at Bristol Rovers

Goals from Luke O'Nien and Aiden McGeady were enough for Jack Ross' side who continued their promotion push. But who shone - and struggled - for the Black Cats at the Memorial Stadium? Scroll down and click through the pages to see how our man Phil Smith rated Sunderland's stars:

Barely had a save to make. Commanded his box well and rarely gave the home side a chance from set pieces. 6
Looked like it could be a difficult afternoon when Rovers targeted his flank early on but steadied and in the second half defended flawlessly. As he always seems to, found a way to contribute at the other end with a good finish. 8
Gave nothing away and went toe-to-toe with a powerful home forward line. Back in the groove after a short spell out. 7

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Exactly the kind of game he was signed for and did his job brilliantly. Made headed clearance after headed clearance in his best Sunderland showing yet. 8
Really grew into the game and had a very strong second half, getting forward and making a contribution as the Black Cats came under some pressure. 7
Got away with one loose pass in the second half but generally a very efficient performance. Forging an impressive partnership with Leadbitter ahead of the final stretch of games. 7
Completely controlled the game. Composure and quality at the base of midfield to keep his side comfortable virtually from start to finish. 8
Looked a little short of his usual sharpness as he snapped into tackles but his graft was important to the balance of the side. Covered swathes of ground as usual. 6
A major threat in the opening stages of the game and got stuck in even as his influence waned. Then struck a wonderful free kick to seal the points for his team. Another influential contribution. 7
Got through a massive amount of running and applied good pressure to the very shaky Rovers centre-back pairing. Little sight of goal but a good afternoons work. 6
A difficult game for a player of his style to make a real impact in. Battled well and provided a good assist for ONiens opener. 6
A wonderful cameo that showed his quality. Three outstanding runs late on that suggested the Black Cats have a real counter-attacking weapon. 7
A tough substitute appearance for a striker who cant catch a break. Missed three good chances laid on by Morgan to get back to scoring ways. Did give the Black Cats some presence in the latter stages. 5
Brought on late to help see the game out and did that with diligence. 6