Black Cats clinch title
By James Pearson. Last Updated: 29/04/05 9:40pm
Sunderland have clinched the Championship title following a superb come-from-behind 2-1 victory over West Ham at Upton Park.
The Hammers had the better opening half and led thanks to Marlon Harewood, but second half efforts from Julio Arca and Stephen Elliott turned the contest around.
The result leaves Alan Pardew's side still battling for a play-off spot with former Reading who are level on points with the East London outfit.
The contest began at a frantic pace and the visitors thought they had made the early breakthrough only for the goal to be rightly disallowed for offside.
Julio Arca's pinpoint cross picked out Dean Whitehead who forced James Walker into a fantastic save only for Chris Brown to stab home the rebound, but he was stood in an offside position.
A superb Ben Alnwick save kept the home side at bay shortly after when he palmed over Harewood's stinging drive from a well-worked free kick.
West Ham finally broke the deadlock just before the interval thanks in part to a sublime run from left winger Matthew Etherington.
The former Tottenham winger left Black Cats defenders for dead before playing in Harewood who lashed home past Alnwick off the inside of the post.
Mick McCarthy's side came out all guns blazing and were on level terms just six minutes after the interval through Arca.
The Argentine was on hand to stab home from close range when Elliot Ward's block beat Walker leaving the home side with their head in their hands.
West Ham continued to create chances but Hayden Mullins firstly fired over after being set up by Harewood with the former Crystal Palace man lashing his shot wide after Sergei Rebrov's free kick was blocked.
With the game entering the closing stages of the game substitute Elliott was perfectly placed to fire past Walker for his 15th goal of the season.
Despite a frantic finale and four minutes of injury time, McCarthy's side hung on for the points that clinch the title for the North East outfit.
Click below for match summary:
West Ham 1-2 Sunderland
Click here for the latest Championship table.
Sky Bet Championship
|20||Brighton and Hove Albion||18||18|