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Soccer - Coca-Cola Football League Championship - Sunderland v Coventry City - Stadium Of Light

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On This Day (19 March 2005): A chip off the old block gives the Lads an important win

A Sunderland striker follows in his father’s footsteps, taking the Lads top in the process.

The moment that mattered - Brown makes it 1-0
| Photo by Tom Buist - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images

It may be Mothering Sunday in the UK, but we are looking back on a Sunderland victory secured on this date by a player whose father had also worn red and white a quarter of a century earlier.

2004-05 was Chris Brown’s break out season at the Stadium of Light, during which he made a goalscoring debut in the League Cup and helped the club win the Championship.

His Dad Alan also has a Sunderland promotion on his cv having featured regularly during the 1979-80 campaign, with his goal in a narrow success over Wrexham during the run in proving vital, and now it was the turn of his son to make an impact.

Soccer - Coca-Cola Football League Championship - Sunderland v Coventry City - Stadium Of Light
Full time, and Sunderland are on top!
Photo by Tom Buist - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images

Chris weighed in with some important strikes and was already showing himself to have a canny knack for one touch finishing after popping up in space within the penalty area; his winner in a tense encounter with Coventry City was from a little further out admittedly, but it was another clinical effort - and it meant a lot in the title race.

Whereas Brown senior’s strike in Wales came in the first few minutes though, Sunderland were forced to wait a little longer this time.

The side had a habit under Mick McCarthy that year of keeping it tight early on in games and picking it up a notch after the break once they had a foothold.

That was evident once again in this fixture where first half chances were limited, but when the Black Cats did look to attack they looked sharp – Julio Arca cutting in from the byline and testing goalkeeper Ian Bennett after a smart move down the left hand side.

Soccer - Coca-Cola Football League Championship - Sunderland v Coventry City - Stadium Of Light
George McCartney gets to grips with Coventry City
Photo by Tom Buist - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images

With Coventry well contained Sunderland now saw their chance to start moving through the gears, and three positive substitutions helped them press on. Andy Welsh was given a chance to build on his impressive cameo appearances so far, whilst Sean Thornton was back on the pitch having scored in a midweek win over Plymouth Argyle last time out. The pair helped lift the tempo, but it was Brown that had the biggest influence on proceedings.

He soon had a sighter when a skewed defensive header put the forward through on goal, but after beating the keeper he saw his attempt bounce off the post and to safety. It was a close call, but the breakthrough was about to come following another incisive move that ended when Brown took a touch and fired home from just outside the 18 yard line.

Soccer - Coca-Cola Football League Championship - Sunderland v Coventry City - Stadium Of Light
Relief as Sunderland force ahead
Photo by Tom Buist - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images

The shot earned three points and a sixth successive win that took the Lads to the top of the table ahead of the international break. They then cemented their place at the summit during a fine showing at Queens Park Rangers, Brown again coming off the bench and finding the target thanks to more smart movement in the area.

It gave the team the lead en route to a 3-1 victory in the capital and in the remaining six matches the Academy of Light graduate was brought into the starting XI, just as Alan Brown had been relied upon in 10 of the last 11 fixtures in 1980.

Their efforts were big factors in Sunderland going up on both occasions, and hopefully Mrs Brown was as impressed with them as the rest of the supporters were.


Saturday 19 March 2005

Coca-Cola Championship

Sunderland 1 (Brown 76)

Coventry City 0

Sunderland: Myhre; Wright, Breen, Caldwell, McCartney; Lawrence (Brown 55), Robinson, Whitley (Thornton 55), Arca (Welsh 68); Stewart, Elliott. Unused: Ingham, D. Collins.

Stadium of Light, attendance 29,424

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