Sunderland 2-0 Doncaster: Black Cats up to fourth after comprehensive victory
Lewis Morgan struck after seven minutes for the Black Cats, with Charlie Wyke adding second 25 minutes later
By Dan Long
Last Updated: 19/04/19 8:24pm
Sunderland climbed above Portsmouth into third-place on goal difference after a 2-0 win over Doncaster at the Stadium of Light on Friday evening.
It was a game decided in the first half-hour; Celtic loanee Lewis Morgan set the wheels in motion as he swept home his maiden league goal to give the Black Cats the lead (7).
And Charlie Wyke added a second just after the half-hour when he took advantage of Rovers goalkeeper Marko Marosi's error to tap home his third goal in four games at the far post (32).
Sunderland: McLaughlin (7), O’Nien (7), Ozturk (5), Dunne (6), Oviedo (6), Power (6), Cattermole (6), Morgan (7), Honeyman (6), McGeady (8), Wyke (8)
Subs: Gooch (5), Grigg (5), Leadbitter (n/a)
Doncaster: Marosi (6), Blair (6), Downing (5), Butler (5), Andrew (5), Kane (5), Whiteman (5), Rowe (5), Coppinger (4), Wilks (4), Marquis (4)
Subs: Crawford (5), May (5), Smith (n/a)
Man of the match: Aiden McGeady
The result keeps Jack Ross' men in the hunt for an automatic promotion spot, owing to the game in hand they hold over second-placed Barnsley, while Doncaster cling onto the final play-off spot with three games to go.
How Sunderland's comprehensive victory unfolded
With fellow promotion hopefuls Portsmouth and Barnsley both having won games earlier on Good Friday, to keep up with the pack, the hosts needed three points of their own against Rovers.
John Marquis was denied an early penalty after a tussle with Alim Ozturk, but Sunderland started well and, as he has been all season, Aiden McGeady was central to the creation of the first goal; the winger's cross from the left was cushioned by Wyke for Morgan to sweep home.
But the second was a gift. Rovers stopper Marosi flapped at Max Power's cross, centre-back Jimmy Dunne flicked the ball onto the far post and Wyke was involved again as he calmly walked the ball over the line.
Grant McCann's side struggled to bring their front three into play, with Mallik Wilks raising his hand in apology several times after over-hitting crosses, but at the break he introduced Alfie May and Ali Crawford.
Sunderland boss Jack Ross made four changes following his side's 5-4 defeat to Coventry last time out; Aiden McGeady, Alim Ozturk, Jimmy Dunne and Lee Cattermole came in for Tom Flanagan, Grant Leadbitter, Will Grigg and Jack Baldwin.
Meanwhile, there was just the one change for Doncaster after their 2-0 win over Plymouth, with Ben Whiteman in the starting XI.
That induced a slight increase in tempo from the visitors, but their hosts almost put themselves home and dry when Bryan Oviedo's strike skidded off the base of the far post, while Wyke forced a strong save from Marosi.
Somehow, Ozturk again evaded punishment after a rugby-style tackle on Andy Butler with 20 minutes to play, but Sunderland's lively first-half performance proved to be the defining factor in their eventual win.
Man of the match - Aiden McGeady
Simply put, the Irish winger should not be playing at this level. Despite an injury that has prevented him from training recently, the 33-year-old starred in an energetic win for the Black Cats, dazzling the Rovers defence with his brilliant footwork and playing a key role in Lewis Morgan's opener.
Sunderland are back in action on Easter Monday as they travel to Peterborough, while Doncaster host Accrington at the Keepmoat Stadium on Tuesday evening.