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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 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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