TONY MOWBRAY was always confident Anthony Patterson would emerge as Sunderland’s spot-kick hero this evening – because he doesn’t think the shot-stopper can be beaten from 12 yards.

Patterson kept out Ilias Chair’s second-half penalty to help ensure the Black Cats claimed all three points at Loftus Road, with his legs blocking the midfielder’s driven effort after Aji Alese had been penalised for handball.

The save enabled Sunderland to hold on to the first-half lead that Luke O’Nien forged when he stabbed home from close range, with Jack Clarke’s two late counter-attacking strikes rounding off a victory that took the Wearsiders back into the play-off positions for the first time since December.

Mowbray said: “It shouldn't surprise anyone, he has been amazing all season. I genuinely think now when they (the opposition) get a penalty, that he is probably going to save it.

“I'm not stood there thinking, 'Oh god, it's 1-1'. That was an amazing save - he filled the goal with his body and kicked it away.

“It's not just that, look at how well he deals with those long, high balls into the box. He's doing fantastically well and he deserves huge credit for helping the team get the result tonight.”

With Patterson’s save seeming to deflate the opposition, Sunderland were able to cut loose in the final ten minutes, with the introduction of substitutes Amad Diallo and Dan Neil helping Mowbray’s side to ram home their advantage.

The Black Cats boss said: “You can see how small we are in numbers, we have lost some key players who are really big for our football team, so these young lads that we have signed, 18 or 19, they have to step forward.

“Yet of course when Amad goes on the pitch, you can feel the extra threat. The substitutes who came on made a big difference - we got the job done.”