posted on Jan, 16 2005 @ 03:42 PM
Stephen Elliott and Dean Whitehead struck second half goals to secure Sunderland a much-needed 2-0 victory at Derby and reignite their bid for
After collecting just four points from their previous four matches, the win allowed Mick McCarthy's side to reassert their promotion credentials and
ensure Ipswich and Wigan remain within striking distance. Defeat for Sunderland would have raised the prospect of a two-horse race emerging, but
instead the victory breathed new life into the Black Cats' hopes of returning to the Premiership and avoiding the lottery of the play-offs.
The defeat for Derby, meanwhile, put a serious dent in their own promotion ambitions but they could consider themselves unfortunate not to have seen
their impressive approach play rewarded with a goal, particularly as they were controversially denied a penalty. Ultimately, however, Sunderland
proved capable of soaking up first-half pressure and two quickfire goals in a 15-minute spell after the restart allowed them to secure the points.
Derby had been boosted by the return of fit-again Grzegorz Rasiak, who replaced Marcus Tudgay in attack, while Michael Johnson and Jeff Kenna came in
for Ian Taylor and Paul Boertien respectively. Sunderland also made three changes, with Danny Collins replacing calf injury-victim Stephen Caldwell to
line up alongside namesake Neill Collins at the heart of the Black Cats' defence.
Midfielder Jeff Whitley returned from suspension to replace Sean Thornton while fit-again Argentine winger Julia Arca dislodged Andy Welsh on the left