AT the end, they were all there together celebrating an epic victory on an epic voyage.

For starters, there were the 1,305 Sunderland fans who had made the long, long journey to the port of Plymouth.

And joining them after the final whistle were the triumphant Sunderland players who had sealed the club a fifth consecutive league win for the first time since 2007.

Black Cats boss Jack Ross was there too to acknowledge fans’ backing, as were the Netflix cameras for a second documentary about life at the Wearside club.

Among them was the camera operator who’d been embedded with supporters since they left the Stadium of Light at 3.30am on Saturday and hit the road in a fleet of coaches on an arduous 407-mile journey.

Netflix are banking on a happy ending to a story they began charting last season as Sunderland hurtled towards the third tier of English football for only the second time in the club’s illustrious history.

The Sunderland Till I Die documentary is not even due for release until December 14, yet production company Fulwell 73 are busy putting together a next installment.

Clearly, they are after what television folk call a ‘narrative arc’ - full of ups and downs, heartache and joy and who can blame them for by the look of what happened on the South coast, they are on to a winner.

Upwardly-mobile Sunderland are now second in the League One table thanks to a hard-earned win against well-drilled buoyant opponents who had scored seven times in back-to-back league victories going into this contest.

Yes, it may have required goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin to be on top form, and it may have needed Aiden McGeady to provide a bit of inspiration to break Plymouth’s resistance.

It may even have required midfielders Dylan McGeouch and George Honeyman to ensure talismanic midfielder Lee Cattermole was not overly missed due to injury.

But those are the things that make all the difference in football. They explain why things are looking up for Sunderland - and why Netflix must be rubbing their hands with glee.

Not that Ross will be distracted by their desire for a Hollywood finale.

“Giving them or anyone a story is a complete irrelevance to me,” Ross said in his post-match interviews as Netflix cameras hovered. “It’s about bringing success back to this great club. If that means great television then so be it, but that’s of zero interest to me.

“And doing my job to the best of my ability is where my focus will continue to be. I still think we’ve a long way to go to make that perfect so the other stuff is really not important to me.”

What is important to football folk like Ross are performances like he got from McGeady, a player who sprinkled a little stardust on proceedings at the Theatre of Greens, that is part demolition site as Plymouth build a new main stand.

Ross is clearly getting the best out of a player who once graced the Champions League with Celtic, yet clearly relishes the muck-and-nettles football of League One.

“I came up against Aiden as a player when he was 18, 19, 20, 21 and so I’ve first-hand experience of how difficult he is to play against,” said Ross, a former St Mirren defender. “I’ve never had any doubts about Aiden. He has a lot of misconceptions about him but his attitude and approach in terms of what I have asked him to do has been absolutely brilliant.”

“I enjoy a really positive relationship with Aiden that’s reflected in his displays on and off the ball. It’s just a matter of getting him in the right place and right frame of mind and he’s in that at the moment. Do that and he’ll produce moments of magic.”

After an evenly fought first half, McGeady took proceedings by the scruff of the proverbial neck in the 53rdminute. He embarked on a slaloming run in front of the travelling fans who enjoyed the perfect view as his left-footed shot arrowed towards them and beyond Matt Macey.

Sunderland were on their way to victory and there was nothing Plymouth, who look too good to be in the relegation zone, could do about it thanks to McLaughlin’s heroics.

McGeady sealed victory from the penalty spot after substitute Luke O’Nien was fouled, coolly sending Macey one way and the ball the other with his right foot before leading the celebrations with fans, whose dedication to the cause was handsomely rewarded.

There was, though, still work to do to register a fourth successive clean sheet as the hosts hit back.

“Nothing comes easy and the outcome shows how resilient we are,” said centre-half Jack Baldwin. “As a fan, you want to see guys putting bodies on the line, giving their all, and we've got lads putting their bodies on the line for the full 90 minutes.

“Big Jon McLaughlin did brilliantly, but we know if we do our job in staying solid defensively, we're more than good enough going forward.

There was even time for a late cameo for 17-year-old Bali Mumba, who was linked with Chelsea and Manchester City over the weekend following the signing of his first professional deal - yet more compelling evidence Sunderland are getting things right again on and off the field of play.