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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 Bournemouth 39 73
2 Watford 39 72
3 Middlesbrough 39 72
4 Norwich City 39 70
5 Derby County 39 67
6 Ipswich Town 39 67
7 Brentford 39 66
8 Wolverhampton Wanderers 39 65
9 Nottingham Forest 39 57
10 Blackburn Rovers 39 54
11 Charlton Athletic 39 54
12 Sheffield Wednesday 39 53
13 Leeds United 39 52
14 Cardiff City 39 51
15 Birmingham City 38 47
16 Brighton and Hove Albion 39 45
17 Bolton Wanderers 39 45
18 Huddersfield Town 39 44
19 Reading 38 44
20 Fulham 39 43
21 Rotherham United 39 40
22 Wigan Athletic 39 35
23 Millwall 39 33
24 Blackpool 39 23

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