Unlucky Black Cats beaten
By Adam Marshall. Last Updated: January 1, 1970 1:00am
Charlton Athletic ended their poor run of form to condemn Sunderland to a tenth straight defeat with a 2-0 success at The Valley.
Darren Bent, who scored twice on his debut on the opening day against The Black Cats, opened the scoring as goals either side of half time proved too much for the bottom side.
Darren Ambrose added a second after comical defending by Steven Caldwell gifted him the opportunity but it was all rather harsh on Mick McCarthy's men.
Their response was to produce a sustained period of quality play with only some inspired goalkeeping by Dean Kiely ensuring Charlton were able to take the points with a degree of comfort.
Ambrose almost scored in the opening seconds after a quick free kick by Murphy sliced the visitors' defence wide open and the England Under-21 midfielder shot off target soon afterwards.
Sunderland forced their way into the game with Liam Lawrence squirting an ambitious attempt wide with the outside of his boot and then producing a save out of Kiely with a daisy-cutter of a shot.
Chris Perry headed a Murphy centre off target and Dean Whitehead hammered a free kick over the top before the opening goal arrived three minutes before the interval. Murphy's astute pass crept between Gary Breen and Nyron Nosworthy to allow Bent the chance to display his clinical finishing prowess with a confident strike past Kelvin Davis.
Four minutes after the break, the points were safe for Charlton as Caldwell gifted a second goal to Ambrose. Luke Young's cross cannoned off Caldwell against his own post but the danger should have been averted. Instead, Young challenged Julio Arca and Caldwell failed to clear his lines, instead feeding Ambrose for the simplest goal he will ever score.
In previous weeks, Sunderland have tended to lose their way when the game is lost but their response will at least give heart to Mick McCarthy.
Julio Arca showed neat skill to bring a stunning save out of Kiely and Radostin Kishishev cleared off the line from a Christian Bassila header during the scramble that followed the resulting corner.
Addicks skipper Young got forward again to lash a drive wide and Ambrose was inches away after some more lovely football by the hosts, as he collected Bent's return pass and whistled a ferocious effort just past Davis's left-hand post.
However, Sunderland refused to buckle and substitute Jon Stead was agonisingly close to opening hs account for the campaign when afforded space to pick up a Justin Hoyte pass. The former Blackburn striker deliberately tried to bend his shot inside Kiely's far post but it rolled just wide.
Somehow Kiely kept out Hoyte at the far post after a deep cross by Stead, with Young helping to clear the danger when a goal seemed certain. After Lawrence and Ambrose traded speculative shots, Arca produced a moment of magic to display great technique in volleying a shot goalwards after Stead's effort had looped up off a defender. Kiely threw himself to his left to pull off the save of the match.
Andy Gray had a penalty appeal rejected after being fed the ball by eye-catching young substitute Grant Leadbitter while Whitehead and Stead were unable to follow up good approach work with shots on target.
So it ended up in yet another defeat for the Wearsiders, who are surely on their way back to The Championship, but there were some positives to take from the game for McCarthy. As for Charlton, the win ended their own dismal run and completed the double over The Black Cats.
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|Charlton Athletic||Team Statistics||Sunderland|
|5||Shots on Target||4|
|6||Shots off Target||8|
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