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

Crewe Crewe Alexandra vs Sunderland S'land

Crewe 0

ft

S'land 1

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 Nottingham Forest 4 10
2 Watford 4 9
3 Norwich City 4 9
4 Wolverhampton Wanderers 4 9
5 Charlton Athletic 4 8
6 Sheffield Wednesday 4 8
7 Derby County 4 7
8 Cardiff City 4 7
9 Millwall 4 7
10 Blackburn Rovers 4 7
11 Bournemouth 4 6
12 Middlesbrough 4 6
13 Brighton and Hove Albion 4 6
14 Rotherham United 4 6
15 Brentford 4 5
16 Birmingham City 4 5
17 Ipswich Town 4 4
18 Wigan Athletic 4 4
19 Reading 4 4
20 Huddersfield Town 4 4
21 Leeds United 4 3
22 Bolton Wanderers 4 1
23 Blackpool 4 0
24 Fulham 4 0

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