Sunderland 1-0 AFC Wimbledon.
Aiden McGeady saved a lacklustre Sunderland with his second-half winner to keep the Black Cats in promotion contention.
The hosts were far from their best and struggled to break-down a resilient Dons side who squandered plenty of first-half chances.
The victory lifts Jack Ross’ men to fourth, three points off automatic promotion, with two games in hand on Barnsley.
Sunderland were handed a major let-off in the opening ten minutes when Will Nightingale blazed over six yards out from a corner the Black Cats failed to defend.
The Dons won their corner after a superb effort Scott Wagstaff who stole the ball from Grant Leadbitter in midfield before nearly lobbing Jon McLaughlin, the Sunderland keeper recovered to tip the ball wide.
The Black Cats were nearly punished for more sloppy play in midfield. Miscommunication led to Wimbledon getting in down Sunderland’s left, but Kweshi Appiah’s half-volley sailed a yard over with McLaughlin beaten in goal.
Another set-piece nearly undid Sunderland, with Nightingale missing another presentable chance from close-range after evading two Sunderland challenges after latching onto an in-swinging free-kick.
Despite dominating possession and territory in the first-half the Mackems never looked like scoring, settling for tame pot-shots and mediocre crosses which Wimbledon easily dealt with.
Despite playing with greater urgency after the break Sunderland still struggled to breakdown their visitors.
The Breakthrough came from nowhere mid-way through the second-half when Tennai Watson failed to control a floated ball, McGeady capitalised cutting onto his right to lash home across the keeper, an outstanding finish.
Inexplicably the Sunderland defence parted in the final ten minutes letting Wagstaff through on goal, he mishit his shot, with McLaughin parrying away from close-range.
Despite being guilty of sitting too deep just after McGeady’s goal outside of one catastrophic piece of defending Sunderland held on comfortably for a vital three points.
Jon McLaughlin, 8/10: Dealt well with a brilliant lobbed effort early on, and made a crucial second-half stop late-on.
Adam Matthews, 6/10: Produced a few quality passes, but switched off far too often on the rare times he was required to do some defending.
Tom Flanagan, 5/10: Lightweight and caught ball-watching far too often.
Jimmy Dunne, 5/10: Nervy in possession and he hasn’t improved the team’s chronic inability to defend set-pieces.
Reece James, 7/10: The most switched on of Sunderland’s back four.
Grant Leadbitter, 7/10: Showcased his excellent passing range, but nearly cost the Black cats twice with major defensive gaffes.
Max Power, 6/10: Not a natural fit next to Leadbitter, needs to push forward more often.
George Honeyman, 6/10: Quiet on his return to the starting line-up.
Lewis Morgan, 7/10: A rare bright spark, in an otherwise sorry afternoon, showcased great confidence, technique and pace, even if not everything he tried came off.
Aiden McGeady, 6/10: Scored a beauty, to save the Mackems, the less said about the rest of his performance the better.
Charlie Wyke, 3/10: Not physical enough, not aggressive enough, not good enough, a major disappointment.
(SUB) , Kazaiah Sterling, 6/10: Plenty of pace and effort, but he looks very raw.
(SUB) , Luke O’Nien, 7/10: Excellent harrying and holding up the ball when Sunderland were defending their lead.
(SUB) , Duncan Watmore, 6/10: Gave Sunderland an outlet when the side became guilty of sitting too deep, protecting a lead.
Man of the Match: Jon McLaughlin