Charlie Wyke was again serenaded by the Sunderland faithful at Spotland and he repaid them with the equalising goal that sparked a dramatic comeback.
Wyke’s goal, his first in the league since September albeit that includes a lengthy spell out injured, sparked wild scenes in the away end, the striker having turned and fired low into the corner.
Wyke is a popular character within the dressing room but has had to be patient after injury to make an impact, the ex-Bradford City striker has partnered Will Grigg up front the last two games, Sunderland beating Accrington Stanley 3-0 and Rochdale 2-1.
The Black Cats moved level on points with Barnsley, with two games in hand on their automatic promotion rivals.
Ross said: “Charlie is a really popular person at the club, he is popular in the dressing room and with the staff, and how he has conducted himself through the season has been brilliant.
“Hopefully he would say that we have stuck by him and treated him properly as well.
“The reaction in our dressing room to him scoring was brilliant because they are desperate for him to do well because they know the contribution he has made in the last couple of games so for him to get on the scoresheet, they’re delighted for him.
“I said on Wednesday that I was pleased with the way the fans reacted to him at Accrington and it was the same at Rochdale - even more so.
“That goal set the stage and of course George Honeyman then came up with the perfect finale.”
Wyke added: "It is a fantastic feeling for me, it has been a frustrating period but days like this make it all worth it.
"This is a massive result for us, the fans were unbelievable and pushed us forward.
"I think we controlled the game. It just shows the lads' spirit and the fightback.
"We are in a fantastic position now, we just need to keep working hard."
Ross also had warm words of praise for the 3,800-strong away support at Spotland.
He added: “I just think when you get to this stage, the last month of the season, every game and every point feels that bit different.
“Our fans have travelled in big numbers all season but I thought it felt a little bit different and the supporters were terrific in the second half in particular.
“As I said in the week, we are going to need them to drag us over the line at times and I thought they did that - they recognised the significance of it and helped pull us through.
“That feeling that you get when you win a game in that manner, when you share it together, that’s why we are involved in the game.”