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Sky Bet Championship

Stadium of Light (ATT 29,424) 19th March 2005 - Kick off 15:00 Ref: A Wiley

Sunderland Sunderland vs Coventry City Coventry

Black Cats go top

Last Updated: 19/03/05 6:35pm

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Sunderland recorded their sixth successive win to go top of The Championship.

The promotion-chasing Black Cats profited from Wigan's draw at Nottingham Forest thanks to substitute Chris Brown's late winner at The Stadium of Light.

Coventry, involved in a battle against the drop, had chances to score themselves in the first period. Micky Adams's men went close when Richard Duffy flashed a long range effort just wide of Thomas Myhre's goal.

Trevor Benjamin then headed just off target after managing to meet a corner in aggressive fashion as The Sky Blues showed they would not be another side to succumb to a heavy beating on Wearside.

Sunderland's best attempt in the opening half came when the outstanding Julio Arca charged down the left flank, cut in, and shot goalwards, only for Ian Bennett to divert the effort to safety with his legs.

Arca again posed a threat after the interval when shaping ominously to shoot, only to clip his left-footed drive wide of goal.

Rookie forward Chris Brown was thrown into the fray, along with the crafty Sean Thornton, and Stephen Wright soon brought the best out of Bennett from a Thornton corner with a sharp header.

Brown almost broke the deadlock when latching onto a Steve Staunton error but his shot, although beating Bennett, bounced back off a post.

With only 14 minutes remaining, the home crowd cheered in relief as Brown's effort earned the three points for Mick McCarthy's side, who have hit top form at just the right time.

A positive pass forward by Carl Robinson was nudged back by Marcus Stewart for Brown to shoot into the net. It was not the most convincing of finishes but it was out of Bennett's reach and the 20-year-old, who recently signed a new contract with the club, celebrated in front of the jubilant supporters.

Gary McSheffrey and Stern John had late opportunities but Sunderland held out to go top of the table.

"It's before the two-week break that we've all got now," said McCarthy afterwards.

"We've got a load of lads on international duty, they can enjoy it and be relaxed and I can spend time with my family and be relaxed.

"I can look forward to the challenge at QPR because it'll be a tough game."

Matches

Table

Sky Bet Championship

Sky Bet Championship
Pos Team P Pts
1 Leicester City 42 90
2 Burnley 43 86
3 Derby County 43 78
4 Queens Park Rangers 42 73
5 Wigan Athletic 42 70
6 Brighton and Hove Albion 43 65
7 Reading 43 64
8 Ipswich Town 42 64
9 Bournemouth 43 62
10 Blackburn Rovers 43 61
11 Nottingham Forest 42 59
12 Middlesbrough 42 58
13 Watford 41 57
14 Bolton Wanderers 43 55
15 Sheffield Wednesday 43 53
16 Leeds United 42 50
17 Huddersfield Town 43 47
18 Birmingham City 41 43
19 Doncaster Rovers 43 43
20 Charlton Athletic 42 42
21 Blackpool 43 42
22 Millwall 42 40
23 Barnsley 42 39
24 Yeovil Town 43 37

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