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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 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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