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Alexandra Stadium (ATT 7,949) 12th March 2005 - Kick off 15:00 Ref: L Probert

Crewe Crewe Alexandra vs Sunderland Sunderland

Crewe 0

ft

Black Cats edge Crewe win

By Tom Adams.   Last Updated: 12/03/05 5:45pm

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Sunderland maintained their challenge for automatic promotion as Stephen Elliott scored the only goal of the game in a 1-0 defeat of Crewe Alexandra.

With both Wigan and Ipswich winning it was imperative that Mick McCarthy's men followed suit, and in doing so they heightened Crewe's relegation fears.

The prolific Elliott supplied the game's turning point as he coolly converted Julio Arca cross just before the hour, and had the ball in the net again only to be denied by an offside flag.

It was Dario Gradi's team who came out the strongest, and after just four minutes Colin Murdock could have opened the scoring with a header but saw his effort cleared by Carl Robinson.

A further chance followed for Mark Rivers before Sunderland grew in confidence and asserted their influence on the game.

Defender George McCartney led the fight-back with a strong 25-yard strike, whilst former Ipswich man Marcus Stewart also missed from distance.

After the half McCarthy introduced Elliott and Arca, and the difference in his side was palpable as they combined for the crucial goal.

Left winger Arca was the supply man as he fed Elliott for a strong finish, and could have extended The Back Cats' advantage with a long range drive soon after.

Crewe could do little to counter the flow of the tide, and Sunderland could have added to their goal tally as Stephen Caldwell failed to convert before Stewart was denied by Ben Williams in the Crewe goal.

With three minutes to go Elliott again netted but was denied by the referee's assistant, whilst Kenny Lunt failed to make anything of a free kick in the dying moments for a Crewe side desperate for a point.

This latest defeat sees them placed just five points above the drop zone after a disastrous run of 11 games without a win.

Matches

Table

Sky Bet Championship

Sky Bet Championship
Pos Team P Pts
1 Leicester City 42 90
2 Burnley 42 83
3 Derby County 42 75
4 Queens Park Rangers 42 73
5 Wigan Athletic 41 67
6 Reading 42 64
7 Brighton and Hove Albion 42 64
8 Ipswich Town 42 64
9 Bournemouth 42 62
10 Blackburn Rovers 42 60
11 Nottingham Forest 42 59
12 Middlesbrough 42 58
13 Watford 41 57
14 Bolton Wanderers 42 54
15 Sheffield Wednesday 42 50
16 Leeds United 42 50
17 Huddersfield Town 42 46
18 Birmingham City 41 43
19 Doncaster Rovers 42 43
20 Blackpool 42 42
21 Charlton Athletic 41 41
22 Millwall 42 40
23 Barnsley 42 39
24 Yeovil Town 42 36

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