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Stadium of Light (ATT 27,102) 18th December 2004 - Kick off 15:00 Ref: D Gallagher

Sunderland Sunderland vs Burnley Burnley

Black Cats pile on pressure

By Planetfootball Staff.   Last Updated: 18/12/04 6:00pm

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Sunderland took advantage of a rest day for the top two to pick up a 2-1 victory against Burnley that puts them level on points with second place Ipswich.

Ipswich and Wigan play each other in midweek, and The Black Cats knew that victory was crucial.

Julio Arca gave them the lead, only for a lapse to let Burnley equalise within a minute through Graham Branch, but dominance finally brought a fortuitous winner as Liam Lawrence's cross evaded everyone including Brian Jensen in The Clarets' goal.

In truth, Burnley can have little complaint after producing little of note going forward.

Robbie Blake looked sharp in the opening stages, and fired narrowly over just two minutes in, but then made an error that gave Sunderland an opener.

Blake's misplaced pass gave Michael Bridges a run at the defence and he unselfishly slipped the ball to Arca, who slotted home with aplomb.

But Sunderland let their concentration slip, and Burnley got straight back into it when Branch latched onto a half-cleared cross and volleyed home.

Lawrence had an effort tipped over as Jensen came to Burnley's rescue on several occasions and the midfielder then got the crucial second - although Bridges may well claim he got a touch on the line.

The former Mansfield star fired in an in-swinging cross, and Jensen lost the flight as the ball slipped past him.

James O'Connor could have equalised on 72, but volleyed wide after Blake's chip through, and Stephen Wright also missed a late chance, but two goals were enough for Sunderland.

Matches

Table

Sky Bet Championship

Sky Bet Championship
Pos Team P Pts
1 Leicester City 42 90
2 Burnley 42 83
3 Derby County 42 75
4 Queens Park Rangers 42 73
5 Wigan Athletic 41 67
6 Reading 42 64
7 Brighton and Hove Albion 42 64
8 Ipswich Town 42 64
9 Bournemouth 42 62
10 Blackburn Rovers 42 60
11 Nottingham Forest 42 59
12 Middlesbrough 42 58
13 Watford 41 57
14 Bolton Wanderers 42 54
15 Sheffield Wednesday 42 50
16 Leeds United 42 50
17 Huddersfield Town 42 46
18 Birmingham City 41 43
19 Doncaster Rovers 42 43
20 Blackpool 42 42
21 Charlton Athletic 41 41
22 Millwall 42 40
23 Barnsley 42 39
24 Yeovil Town 42 36

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