Sunderland bounced back strongly from the 5-4 defeat to Coventry City with a commanding win over Doncaster Rovers.
Here’s what we learned from the 2-0 win.
Sunderland proved they can handle the pressure, now they need to finish the job.
There was naturally a fair amount of concern on Wearside following the chaotic nature of the 5-4 defeat to Coventry City but Sunderland reacted well in the win over Doncaster Rovers.
Rovers have several dangermen, not least January target John Marquis, but the Black Cats quelled much of the threat with ease and this was as comfortable as Sunderland have been in a few weeks.
With Pompey and Barnsley both winning earlier in the day, the pressure was on. Sunderland eased through the game.
Now to finish the job and win automatic promotion in the final four games.
No-nonsense approach from Alim Ozturk and Jimmy Dunne.
There was a great deal of pressure on the duo but their approach to the game was admirable, they didn’t give an inch and dealt with any balls simply and effectively.
They didn’t try to get the ball down and play but instead cleared their lines in a clinical fashion.
Few risks were taken in possession, though Ozturk did get away with two fouls, one on the edge of the area and a strong penalty shout in the second half.
Both waved away to the relief of the Sunderland support.
Charlie Wyke produces his best performance in a Sunderland shirt.
It is incredible to think he was almost pulled out the team at the last minute as he had a migraine and was being sick in the dressing room.
To then shake that off and produce a man of the match display says an incredible amount about his strength of character and commitment.
Sunderland wouldn’t be in League One if they’d had more players with his character in recent seasons.
He was a focal point all evening, winning his headers and the physical battle against the defenders and capped the display with a goal.
Three goals and three assists in his last six games.
Jack Ross’ bold decisions pay off
It was a brave move by the Scot to make four changes including dropping his two centre backs and his £4million January signing.
But his big calls paid off in style.
Tom Flanagan and Jack Baldwin were axed, no surprise really given their defending against Coventry City, with Alim Ozturk and Jimmy Dunne starring in the win over Donny.
Wyke was favoured over Will Grigg in attack and the former Bradford City man produced a stellar display leading the line.
With only a handful of games to go, there is little room for error. Ross got it bang on.
Skipper George Honeyman played a key role.
With Max Power and Lee Cattermole sitting in front of the defence in the 4-2-3-1 system, skipper Honeyman was deployed in the No.10 role behind Wyke, with Aiden McGeady on the left and Lewis Morgan on the right.
And Honeyman was a constant pest all night, he never stopped, covered an incredible amount of ground in the first half, linking up well with Wyke.
Given the level of work he put in first half he did tire in the second but did his defensive duties well.
Lee Cattermole proves what a miss he is when not playing.
This was Cattermole’s first appearance since missing the crucial penalty against Portsmouth in the Checkatrade Trophy final.
And it was a dominating display from the man in the middle.
His partnership with Max Power, also excellent, was particularly pleasing and the pair dominated the midfield battle.
They controlled the game, made key passes in possession and won the majority of the second balls.