Sunderland kept up the pressure on the promotion pack by securing a vital three points against promotion rivals Ipswich Town at the Stadium of Light.
Charlie Wyke had put the black cats ahead however Jack Lankester restored parity for the visitors who went down to ten men after Andre Dozzell was dismissed midway through the second half.
Sunderland were awarded a controversial penalty late on and Grant Leadbitter converted to give the hosts all three points.
Story of the game
Sunderland started on top and seized the initiative after eight minutes. Lyndon Gooch cutting inside off the left and threading a ball through to Charlie Wyke who shrugged off Ipswich defender Matt McGuinness with ease to slot past Tomas Holy to make it 1-0 and keep up his scoring streak.
Tails were up and Sunderland kept the pressure up , Denver Hume nearly finding Chris Maguire in the box but Ipswich were able to scramble the ball clear. Josh Scowen then went close but he couldn't keep his shot down and it flew over the bar.
Ipswich offered very little going forward early on, an Andre Dozzell free kick was all they could muster but he smashed it straight against the wall.
Sunderland looked like getting the next goal and they came close. Makeshift centre back Conor McLaughlin putting in an excellent ball which Wyke could only head wide much to the shock of his teammates.
Paul Lambert made a few tactical changes and it paid off as his side got back into the game after thirty eight minutes. Stephen Ward down the left feeding Gwion Edwards who teed up Jack Lankester to fire across Lee Burge into the bottom right hand corner off the post. It was a great finish and nothing Burge could do.
At the half Phil Parkinson will have felt conflicted. They had played well in the first half, taking the lead and looking dangerous. But they had been pegged back and didn't capitalise while Ipswich were all at sea.
The second half was end to end without any real key chances. The best chance of the half for Sunderland fell to Tom Flanagan from a Chris Maguire free kick but his header skimmed the top of the bar.
Ipswich created a few good chances. The best of the bunch came from a Sunderland mistake. Alan Judge picking the pocket of Flanagan and crossing for goalscorer Lankester but he could only blaze over from close range.
Ipswich were reduced to ten men after seventy two minutes. Andre Dozzell with an awful challenge on Leadbitter in the middle of the park.
Despite their man advantage, Sunderland struggled to create anything of note maybe due to their creative spark Chris Maguire being taken off early in the half.
His replacement Danny Graham cut a frustrated figure but when he was presented with a chance from a Luke O'Nein cross he couldn't get on the end of it.
Sunderland were given a get out of jail card by referee Peter Wright. A poor cross was easily cleared by Aaron Nsiala, headed back into the mix by Sunderland and as Nsiala made a second clearance the ball clattered off Mark McGuinness and the referee pointed to the spot. It was harsh as McGuinness was probably too close to do anything about it.
Grant Leadbitter stepped up and sent the keeper the wrong way to give Sunderland an undeserved lead.
It should have been three moments later but Wyke somehow missed from 10 yards out.
Man of the Match - Charlie Wyke
A threat all night, it looks like the Charlie Wyke Sunderland bought has finally arrived. Coming from Bradford with a great goal record it's been a tough couple of years for the 28 year old.
His finishing ability has never been in question, but the quality of service has been poor. Now Sunderland favour more direct football, Wyke has thrived and is putting together a great goalscoring run.
His goals will be crucial in what is shaping up to be an extremely tight promotion race in League 1.
A good win but concerns still remain
Had Peter Taylor not awarded a penalty Sunderland weren't going to score. They lacked creativity against ten men and that will worry Phil Parkinson. However the glass half full attitude would be this season they have rarely played well and are still in the promotion hunt, picking up results.
Another Sub-Par performance
Many said that Saturday's narrow victory at home to Crewe was their worst performance of the season. They didn't start well tonight and could have been out of the game.
They got back into the game and can feel hard done by but if they are serious about challenging for promotion they need to improve away from home and come out the traps quicker than they have been.