Sunderland moved into the top six in League One after a late win against fellow play-off competitors Oxford United today, and Alex Neil will surely be delighted to have potential promotion back in his team’s hands with just five games to go.
The Black Cats managed to control possession of the ball (51%) and did well to win the game following the attacking threat that Oxford imposed on them this afternoon. The hosts had more shots on target, nine more shots in total and completed more accurate crosses into the box over the course of the match.
An early advantage was secured for Sunderland when Corry Evans found the net in the 16th minute, but the lead didn’t last all that long as Oxford responded in the 35th minute with a goal from Elliot Moore to level the scores.
A late substitution gave Sunderland exactly what they were searching for throughout the second half when Elliot Embleton was brought on in the 85th minute, scoring just four minutes after replacing his team-mate Jack Clarke to keep the Wearsiders’ promotion dreams alive.
Despite not getting on the scoresheet, the current League One top scorer Ross Stewart was a key component in Sunderland’s attacking output and set an example amongst his fellow forwards, ultimately leading to a priceless win for the visitors at the Kassam Stadium.
As per SofaScore, the 25-year-old earned a rating of 7.2 despite not scoring as he won eight duels, contributed the assist for Evans’ opener in the first half, made two key passes and created two big chances for his team over his 90 minutes on the pitch.
The Sunderland striker recently gained his first senior call-up to the Scotland squad thanks to his impressive season so far. With 22 goals and four assists, Stewart has been attracting interest from Championship clubs such as Swansea, with the Black Cats reportedly planning to secure the striker’s future with a new contract.
Neil’s side now must ensure that their victory today was not in vain by keep up their unbeaten run in League One when they play Shrewsbury next Friday, and a win at the Stadium of Light will surely put Sunderland in a very strong position to secure a play-off berth.