Sunderland came from a goal behind to beat ten-man Oxford 3-1 and continued their unbeaten run in League One.
The opening 45 minutes was a tightly contested affair and the visitors took the lead through James Henry but that was cancelled out by a 47th minute strike from Lynden Gooch. Oxford were reduced to ten men with Mark Sykes second yellow and Sunderland made their man advantage count with an Aiden McGeady strike, and Max Power sealed the points with a third deep into injury time.
Lee Johnson made two surprising changes with Carl Winchester and Aiden O’Brien dropping out for Jordan Jones and Connor McLaughlin.
Oxford was the first of a massive double-header over the Easter weekend, with Sunderland looking to push into the promotion spots.
Sunderland were the first to have a sight on goal, Aiden McGeady whipped in a low corner to Jones and caught Oxford out, but the Rangers loanee miskicked the ball.
With 15 minutes gone, it had been a closely fought game with both sides having spells of pressure, but neither keeper had been tested.
Sunderland were caught out on the break, and Oxford took the lead following a great strike from Henry from 20 yards out that left Lee Burge with no chance.
Oxford looked assured and positive in and out of possession and weren’t letting Sunderland have any time on the ball.
The lad’s best first chance of the half fell to McGeady who tried his luck from a free kick, but it was well saved by Jack Stevens.
On the stroke of half time, Jones breezed past his man with a lovely bit of skill and fired a ball into the near post that was prodded home by Gooch.
Oxford had started the second half the better they’d come out looking the more likely to get the second of the game.
On the hour mark, Oxford were reduced to ten men, Sykes received a second yellow with an awful challenge on Luke O’Nien.
Gooch was close to getting a second as he received a ball from Wyke and was in on goal, but on a tight angle, he flashed an effort wide.
Oxford had looked a threat from corners, and Elliot Moore rose the highest, but his header was straight at Burge.
Ross Stewart was introduced to put the pressure on Oxford and almost scored with his first touch; Wyke delivered a lovely ball into the big striker, but his header was too central.
The lads were increasing the pressure, Jones with space in the middle, unleashed a rocket that had Stevens beat, but his effort cannoned back off the bar.
The pace of the game was frantic, and while Sunderland were going for the winner, Oxford were by no means out of it and looked a threat on the break.
Sunderland made the late pressure count as the lads played a quick free-kick, and Gooch laid a ball back to McGeady, who fired a ball into the bottom corner.
The lads were hanging on for the three points, but with everyone Oxford player deep in Sunderland’s half, Wyke broke up the field and played it to Max Power, who scored the clincher in injury time.
Full Time: Sunderland 3-1 Oxford
ALS Man of the Match: Jordan Jones
Sunderland: Burge; McLaughlin (Stewart 67’), Sanderson, O'Nien, McFadzean; Scowen, Power, Jones (Maguire 77’), Gooch, McGeady (Leadbitter 87’); Wyke
Subs Not Used: Matthews, Winchester, Diamond and O’Brien