‘At least we’re staying up’ – These Sunderland fans react to defeat v Bristol Rovers

Sunderland lost ground in the automatic promotion battle last night as they went down 2-0 to Bristol Rovers, who all-but secure their place in League One next season.

Going into the game, Ben Garner’s side were out of form and down on their luck, but a brace from Jonson Clarke-Harris ensured they climbed up the table and away from the relegation spots.

The struggling hosts took the lead six minutes before half time. Ollie Clarke’s low cross found Clarke-Harris with his back to goal, but he turned smartly to finish with aplomb.

Sunderland struggled to make any impact in the game, failing to force a save from the Rovers’ keeper Jamal Blackman until the final minutes of the game. By then, Rovers had doubled their lead. Clarke-Harris grabbed his second of the night from the penalty spot after Max Power had handled a Luke Leahy cross.

The three points saw Rovers leapfrog Lincoln City into 14th place, with 13 points the gap between them and Tranmere in the final relegation place. Phil Parkinson’s side are seventh but have played a game more than all the teams above them, with both Wycombe and Doncaster able to reel them in by winning their games in hand.

That’s led some Sunderland fans to concede that the hunt for a top-two spot is over and maybe, just maybe, they’re in for a third season in the third tier next time out.

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