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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 Watford 45 88
2 Bournemouth 45 87
3 Middlesbrough 45 84
4 Norwich City 45 83
5 Ipswich Town 45 78
6 Derby County 45 77
7 Brentford 45 75
8 Wolverhampton Wanderers 45 75
9 Blackburn Rovers 45 64
10 Charlton Athletic 45 60
11 Birmingham City 45 60
12 Nottingham Forest 45 59
13 Cardiff City 45 59
14 Sheffield Wednesday 45 59
15 Leeds United 45 55
16 Huddersfield Town 45 54
17 Fulham 45 52
18 Bolton Wanderers 45 51
19 Reading 44 47
20 Brighton and Hove Albion 45 46
21 Rotherham United 44 42
22 Millwall 45 41
23 Wigan Athletic 45 39
24 Blackpool 45 25

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