Black Cats pile on pressure
By Planetfootball Staff. Last Updated: 18/12/04 6:00pm
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.
Sky Bet Championship
|18||Brighton and Hove Albion||7||7|