Black Cats bag big win
By Simon Fudge. Last Updated: 21/11/04 1:23pm
Sunderland have moved to third in The Championship following a well-deserved 2-0 home victory over second place Ipswich Town.
Second half goals from Stephen Elliott (pictured) and substitute Chris Brown pulled Mick McCarthy's men to within reaching distance of the automatic promotion places in the table, as Ipswich missed the chance to go top following defeat.
On a wet day at The Stadium of Light, both sides showed their commitment to get forward in the first half.
In the early stages, Sunderland's George McCartney caused a scare in the Ipswich box with a dangerous low cross that whipped across the face of Kelvin Davis's goal from the left.
Moments later, the visitors missed a great opportunity themselves when Ian Westlake mis-hit his attempted byline cut-back to waiting team-mates in front of the Sunderland goal.
In fact, Ipswich failed to really test Black Cats goalkeeper Thomas Myhre, with the Norwegian international saving easily from Dean Bowditch's curling strike while Darren Bent hit his left-footed attempt woefully across the face of goal from the edge of Sunderland's box.
It was Davis, who was the busier of the two custodians by the half time break, as he made good saves from McCartney at his feet while tipping over Darren Carter's fine volley from the edge of the box.
Marcus Stewart went close himself for the Wearsiders, but he steered Jeff Whitley's left footed cross from the right wide of the far post with his left foot, as it remained goalless at the break.
The second half saw McCarthy introduce Liam Lawrence for the injured Whitley and the former Mansfield Town hit-man's presence gave the home side more attacking threat.
It was Davis again who denied Carter with a fine diving stop to his close-range strike after McCartney set him up in the box.
Sunderland were on top at this stage and their dominance was soon rewarded on the hour mark, as Lawrence's corner from the right came off Brown before Elliott reacted instinctively to back heel the ball into the net for 1-0.
Sunderland continued to pressure the visitors, with Elliott flicking Stephen Caldwell's header over the bar from another Lawrence corner on the right while Lawrence himself shot high and wide from a tight angle.
However, the North East club scored a well-deserved second goal with a quarter hour remaining, as Carter took a Lawrence pass before running into the Ipswich box and squaring a pass across goal to Brown, who easily finished with a side foot strike for 2-0.
Another substitute in Michael Bridges went close in the dying stages with a strike into the side-netting, but it made little difference to the outcome, as The Black Cats took three huge points off their promotion rivals on Sunday while Ipswich saw their 10-match unbeaten run come to an abrupt end.
Click below for a match summary:
Sunderland 2-0 Ipswich Town
Click here for an updated Championship table.
Sky Bet Championship
|20||Brighton and Hove Albion||13||12|