Wolverhampton 3, Sunderland 1
LONDON (SE) - Mick McCarthy hailed substitute Matt Jarvis after the England winger came off the bench to lead relegation threatened Wolves to a crucial 3-1 at Sunderland on Saturday.
Goals from Sunderland old boy Jody Craddock, top scorer Steven Fletcher and defender George Elokobi moved Wolves a giant step closer to Premier League survival.
It was the impact of Jarvis, who set up Fletcher's crucial second goal after Stephane Sessegnon had equalised for the hosts, that had managerMcCarthy purring.
McCarthy said: "We got battered first half but the second half was a good performance.
"I had to make a decision at half time and I just thought Matty would give us some fresh impedance.
"He sat out last week was desperate to play and came on and produced a great cross for Fletcher, who has been terrific recently.
"The third goal was vital because it helped settle us and broke their resistance a little bit."
The victory was McCarthy's first Premier League win at the Stadium of Light in twenty attempts, including a lengthy spell in charge of Sunderland.
The former Republic of Ireland coach insisted he took no satisfaction getting one over his old employers.
McCarthy added: "I had no desire to come here and rub anybody's nose in anything. I had a wonderful time at Sunderland and love the club, the people and the area.
"There was plenty of goodwill to me today and if they were going to lose to anybody most of the fans would rather lose to me.
"I think they would be happy to see me still in the Premier League."
Injury hit Sunderland were missing ten first team regulars and despite a bright start found themselves behind when Craddock volleyed home from Stephen Hunt's cross.
Bolo Zenden had hit the woodwork for Sunderland before Frenchman Sessegnon swept in the Dutchman's corner to level before half time.
Wolves, who had also seen Jamie O'Hara's shot rebound off the bar, retook the lead soon after half time when the in-form Fletcher rose highest to nod in Jarvis's pin-point centre for his fifth goal in as many games.
Elokobi made the points safe with a powerful header from O'Hara's free kick, handing Wolves back to back wins for the first time this season.
McCarthy's side will be safe if they can complete a hat trick of victories on the bounce at home to bottom three rivals Blackburn on the final day.
Sunderland will be grateful to see the season reach a conclusion after a dismal run of form, which has seen them slip from European contention to 13th in the table.
Manager Steve Bruce said: "We played some excellent stuff in the first half but in the second half we got nowhere near that level.
"Whether physically we are not right is something we will need to look at but our performance after half time was not acceptable.
"All three goals we conceded were avoidable, which is something else we need to address over the summer."