The Black Cats looked set to endure a frustrating night after Barrie McKay’s early goal, with the home side defending resolutely and giving up few opportunities.
Parkinson had also been left frustrated by the persistent timewasting throughout the game as Sunderland searched for a way back into the contest.
Sunderland have been in imperious form on home turf since the turn of the year, and Parkinson was pleased with the fans’ patience on what was a very different kind of contest.
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“I thought the crowd were great for us tonight,” he said.
“Every game is a different challenge for the players and also the supporters.
“Recently we've been leading games early, comfortable in the end against Bristol Rovers, this was a different challenge and they stayed right with us.
“I thank them for that.”
The Black Cats boss was also full of praise for his substitutes, many of whom have struggled for regular gametime of late.
Antoine Semenyo brought so much needed urgency to the home side’s play late on, while both Kyle Lafferty and Duncan Watmore were involved in the goal that kept Sunderland within striking distance of the top.
“I’m pleased for the lads who came on and made a contribution tonight because it’s frustrating for lads being out of the team,” Parkinson said.
“Lafferty, Duncan and Antoine came on and I thought they gave us a lift of energy.”