PHIL PARKINSON has acknowledged how Chris Maguire was the perfect player for the position he found himself in to hammer Sunderland’s winner against Ipswich Town this afternoon.

The Black Cats climbed into the play-off places at the Tractor Boys’ expense courtesy of Maguire’s powerful strike nine minutes before the end at the Stadium of Light.

It was the ideal response to last week’s defeat at Portsmouth which brought an end to a nine-match unbeaten run, and lifted Sunderland back to within four points of the top two.

Parkinson said: “They are a good team Ipswich, we knew they would come with some response to heavy defeat at home, they started quick, we were slow and we spoke about it at half-time.

“We wanted to speed it up, get Ipswich on the back foot, play with more forward momentum and we felt there would be only one winner. Eventually the goal came.

“It was a tremendous finish from Chris, he has the calmness you need and that quality in those areas, he is tremendous in those situations and what you need to separate tight games. I am pleased the chances feel to him. He is clinical in those areas.

“You take points off your rivals, we knew it was difficult today. I am so pleased the way we got stronger as the game went on. We were excellent second half.

“Last week did it knock confidence? No. But we looked at why we didn’t get the victory, analysed, without making too big a thing about it. And we moved on quickly. I felt we did that. We weren’t at our best against Portsmouth, circumstances contributed to that.”

Parkinson’s striker gamble paid off when Kyle Lafferty’s influence in the final third helped pave the way for Maguire to hit the winner.

Ipswich had the better of the opening half with striker Will Keane going the closest. Sunderland controlled things after the restart.

Lynden Gooch and Bailey Wright had both hit the woodwork during that second half, and there were numerous other half chances that went to waste.

Just when it looked like a point was on the cards, Sunderland boss Parkinson introduced substitute Lafferty and it had the desired effect.

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Less than two minutes later, striker partner Charlie Wyke rolled a pass across the edge of the box where, after a little touch from the experienced Lafferty, Maguire fired first time inside goalkeeper Tomas Holy’s bottom right corner.

“It was a difficult call because I felt the shape of the team was working well, we were causing them a lot of problems and we looked the team that was going to win it,” said Parkinson. “I felt with 12 minutes to go, Laff’s physicality with Wyke I just felt would give them something else to think about.

“Sometimes those decisions work for you and sometimes they don’t. Kyle was a little lucky not to start, Charlie had a shoulder issue but he was desperate to play. That’s the kind of character we need.

"Laff was in the team shape yesterday, he showed the right attitude to give us a lift. Against a tired team, to throw someone with Laff’s physicality at the top end of the pitch is great weapon to have from the bench.”

SUNDERLAND (3-4-2-1): McLaughlin; Wright, Willis, Flanagan; O’Nien, Dobson, Power, Hume (Lafferty 79); Gooch (C McLaughlin 90), Maguire; Lafferty. Subs (not used): Burge (gk), Ozturk, Watmore, Scowen, Semenyo.

IPSWICH TOWN (4-2-3-1): Holy 7; Donacien 6 (Earl 78), Wilson 7, Chambers 7, Woolfenden 6, Kenlock 7; Skuse 6, Nolan 6 (Huws 72), Downes 6; Keane 7, Norwood 6 (Jackson 71). Subs (not used): Norris, Judge, Sears, Dozzell.