GEORGE DOBSON has refused to condemn Fleetwood Town’s time-wasting in Tuesday’s 1-1 draw at the Stadium of Light – and told his Sunderland team-mates they will have to get ready for more of the same in the final two months of the season.

Having claimed a fifth-minute lead at the Stadium of Light, Fleetwood’s players spent much of the following 90 minutes pushing the rules to their limits as they dallied over goal-kicks, delayed the taking of throw-ins and constantly tried to slow the pace of the game.

In the end, their gamesmanship proved their undoing with referee Scott Oldham’s decision to play six minutes of additional time enabling Max Power to hammer home a dramatic equaliser deep into stoppage time.

Phil Parkinson expressed his frustration at Fleetwood’s tactics after the final whistle, but Dobson understands why opposition teams adopt such an approach when they visit the Stadium of Light. Indeed, the midfielder was honest enough to admit that he and his team-mates have indulged in similar ploys.

“Listen, we’ve done the same thing,” said Dobson. “Obviously, when we scored the early goal at Oxford, we tried frustrate them after that and we were able to see it out. Especially when it gets down to these last ten or 11 games, the points are so massive and teams are going to frustrate.

“So, you can’t get frustrated at yourself as a team. You’ve got to just keep going and keep doing your stuff, and obviously it paid off for us in the end. We weren’t brilliant, but then when you’re not brilliant but you’re still getting results, that’s a positive.

“It was similar on Saturday in terms of Bristol (Rovers) sitting behind the ball too. With Fleetwood getting the early goal, it meant they had something to hold on to. So that was always going to be a frustration. We probably could have been more patient at times, but in the end, our patience did pay off.”

Significantly, Sunderland’s players did not allow their frustrations to boil over into any indiscipline, which could have prevented them from hauling themselves back into the game.

Parkinson has instructed his players not to become embroiled in running arguments with the referee, and subconsciously, their refusal to harangue Oldham on Tuesday night might have influenced his decision to keep playing beyond the sixth minute of stoppage time.

“You just can’t get involved with the referees,” said Dobson. “I think that’s what we did really well on Saturday. The referee in that game was obviously what he was, but we didn’t let that affect us.

“Obviously, Bristol let that affect them with the red card, and that’s when we showed our patience to get the result. Different tests keep coming and we’ve just got to keep trying to pass them.”

With Coventry and Rotherham playing also playing out a 1-1 draw, Tuesday’s result keeps Sunderland within three points of top spot ahead of Sunday’s trip to St Andrew’s to play the Sky Blues.

In some senses, the failure to beat Fleetwood was an opportunity missed, but the dramatic finish meant the game felt like a moral victory and enabled Sunderland to maintain the momentum that has been generated by a run that has now stretched to just one defeat in 13 games.

“I think that probably sums us up at the minute,” said Dobson. “The never-say-die attitude and the will to just keep going and going.

“Fleetwood came at us, and the first ten minutes were nowhere near good enough - we didn’t start the game well enough and then they just came and frustrated us. They got the goal, then sat behind the ball and time-wasted ridiculously.

“But it was a massive point. We would want to win, but in the context of where we were with ten minutes to go, it keeps the momentum going, going into another massive game at the weekend.

“All the boys are buzzing, on a massive high, so we’ve got to take that to the weekend and hopefully start better.”

From a personal point of view, Dobson was pleased to have come through Tuesday’s game without having incurred a booking that would have led to a two-game suspension. The midfielder has four more games before the cut-off point that would strike his previous yellow cards off his record, but insists he will not be changing his approach to try to guard against another booking.

“If I need to go into a tackle, I still will,” he said. “At the minute, there hasn’t been an occasion where I’ve mistimed one and got the card. I don’t want to miss a game, so hopefully I can ride through these next few. Touch wood.”