Match ends, Bristol Rovers 0, Sunderland 1.
Aiden O'Brien grabbed a first-half winner as Sunderland maintained their push for automatic promotion with victory at relegation-threatened Bristol Rovers.
The visitors scored the goal that mattered on 39 minutes when Rovers allowed O'Brien space to run onto an Aiden McGeady corner from the right and net with a volley from 10 yards.
It meant a happy return to Bristol for Black Cats head coach Lee Johnson following his years as head coach across town at Ashton Gate.
The first half saw McGeady chip over and Lynden Gooch have a shot saved by Rovers keeper Anssi Jaakkola, while at the other end Jonah Ayunga and Zain Walker shot narrowly wide.
The visitors might have increased their lead after the break as O'Brien shot over, Jaakkola twice saved well from Charlie Wyke and McGeady hit a post with a free-kick.
But at the end Lee Burge had to save well from Rovers substitute David Tutonda as the desperate home side pushed for a valuable equaliser.
Match report supplied by PA Media.
- 15KilgourSubstituted forBaldwinat 81'minutes
- 3LeahyBooked at 36mins
- 8WestbrookeSubstituted forOztumerat 71'minutes
- 28WalkerSubstituted forBarrettat 76'minutes
- 21AyungaSubstituted forTutondaat 76'minutes
- 16SandersonBooked at 53mins
- 13O'NienBooked at 85mins
- 14ScowenBooked at 50mins
- 11GoochSubstituted forLeadbitterat 66'minutes
- 10O'BrienSubstituted forStewartat 66'minutes
- Ollie Yates
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Bristol Rovers 0, Sunderland 1.
Luke O'Nien (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Brandon Hanlan (Bristol Rovers).
Attempt missed. Jack Baldwin (Bristol Rovers) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Josh Barrett following a set piece situation.
Foul by Grant Leadbitter (Sunderland).
Erhun Oztumer (Bristol Rovers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Charlie Wyke (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Jack Baldwin (Bristol Rovers).
Attempt missed. Carl Winchester (Sunderland) left footed shot from the left side of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Charlie Wyke.
Attempt blocked. Carl Winchester (Sunderland) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Ross Stewart.
Attempt saved. Jack Baldwin (Bristol Rovers) header from the left side of the six yard box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by David Tutonda with a cross.
Corner, Bristol Rovers. Conceded by Lee Burge.
Attempt saved. David Tutonda (Bristol Rovers) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Luke Leahy with a headed pass.
Corner, Bristol Rovers. Conceded by Luke O'Nien.
Attempt saved. Josh Grant (Bristol Rovers) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by David Tutonda.
Attempt blocked. Erhun Oztumer (Bristol Rovers) left footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Josh Barrett.
Luke O'Nien (Sunderland) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Luke O'Nien (Sunderland).
Brandon Hanlan (Bristol Rovers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.