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

S'land Sunderland vs Burnley Burnley

S'land 2

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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 Ipswich Town 23 44
2 Bournemouth 22 42
3 Brentford 23 40
4 Middlesbrough 22 39
5 Derby County 22 39
6 Watford 22 38
7 Norwich City 22 34
8 Blackburn Rovers 22 34
9 Nottingham Forest 22 31
10 Cardiff City 23 31
11 Charlton Athletic 23 31
12 Wolverhampton Wanderers 22 31
13 Fulham 22 28
14 Sheffield Wednesday 22 28
15 Birmingham City 22 28
16 Bolton Wanderers 22 26
17 Reading 22 25
18 Leeds United 22 24
19 Rotherham United 22 24
20 Huddersfield Town 22 24
21 Millwall 22 23
22 Brighton and Hove Albion 22 19
23 Wigan Athletic 22 17
24 Blackpool 22 13

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