Black Cats raid Rams
By Peter ORourke
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Sunderland kept pace with the Championship leaders with a 2-0 win at Derby.Sunderland kept pace with the Championship leaders with a 2-0 win at Derby.
Second half goals from Stephen Elliott and Dean Whitehead proved to be enough for Mick McCarthy's troops.
Irish striker Elliott had the first real chance for Sunderland on 14 minutes when he held off a challenge from Tom Huddlestone before curling an effort just wide of Lee Camp's far post.
A minute later Morten Bisgaard fired just over the crossbar after the ball dropped nicely to him on the edge of the box.
Spanish midfielder Inigo Idiakez tried to raise the home side's spirit when he fizzed a shot over the top on 32 minutes.
Sunderland captain George McCartney called Camp into the action on 35 minutes with a snap shot from the edge of the area which the keeper could only palm out.
Derby had strong claims for a penalty soon after rejected when Danny Collins appeared to catch Grzegorz Rasiak inside the box, but Phil Crossley waved away their appeals.
McCartney was lucky to escape a red card four minutes after the restart when he hauled down former team-mate Tommy Smith right on the edge of the box.
Idiakez almost made McCartney pay from the resulting free kick with his quickly taken shot rebounding off the crossbar.
Sunderland broke the deadlock two minutes later with Elliott pouncing from close-range after Camp could only manage to push Julio Arca's fierce shot.
The visitors doubled their lead on 66 minutes, but the goal had more than a little bit of good fortunate about it.
Elliot picked out Whitehead inside the box and although his first shot was blocked by Michael Johnson the ball ricochet off him into the net to leave Camp stranded.