An early Lloyd Jones red card made things a little simpler for the Black Cats, with Ross Stewart ending his goalscoring drop-off with a brace in the first half.
It turned out to be a crucial result with Plymouth Argyle and Wycombe Wanderers picking up points beneath Sunderland, giving them a huge opportunity heading into Tuesday evening’s clash with Rotherham United.
Stewart gave his insight into his strike partnership with Nathan Broadhead when he spoke to ChronicleLive.
He said: “I think we compliment each other really well.
“I get on really well with Nath (Nathan Broadhead) off the pitch so I think that helps us on the pitch even more with that striker link up and connection.
“Nath has been scoring goals and I chipped in with a couple on Saturday so I think we are really good at causing defences problems and we’re scoring as well.
“We have formed a really good partnership and hopefully we can continue it in the last two games and hopefully beyond that as well.”
Strikers in form could play a key role in the play-offs, which is already set to be very evenly matched.
The job is not done yet, but one more win could be enough for Sunderland to confirm their position in the top six.
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It is a massive boost for Alex Neil and the rest of the squad, to see Stewart back amongst the goals, albeit against weakened opposition on Saturday.
With three realistic promotion contenders coming down from the Championship this season, the Wearside club will be desperate to take their opportunity in the play-offs this time around.
The scars of 2018/19 and 2020/21 could work in their favour, with Neil keen to champion experienced players since replacing Lee Johnson in the dugout.
The Black Cats are in a good position to avoid taking on third place as well, which could be their motivation against Rotherham United on Tuesday evening.