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

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