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Sky Bet Championship

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

S'land Sunderland vs Coventry City Coventry

S'land 1

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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 Bournemouth 21 39
2 Middlesbrough 21 39
3 Derby County 21 38
4 Ipswich Town 21 38
5 Brentford 21 37
6 Watford 21 35
7 Norwich City 21 33
8 Blackburn Rovers 21 31
9 Nottingham Forest 21 30
10 Charlton Athletic 21 30
11 Cardiff City 21 30
12 Wolverhampton Wanderers 21 30
13 Sheffield Wednesday 21 28
14 Fulham 21 25
15 Birmingham City 21 25
16 Reading 21 25
17 Huddersfield Town 21 24
18 Bolton Wanderers 21 23
19 Leeds United 21 23
20 Millwall 21 23
21 Rotherham United 21 21
22 Brighton and Hove Albion 21 18
23 Wigan Athletic 21 17
24 Blackpool 21 13

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