Black Cats on the brink
By Graeme Bailey
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Sunderland are on the brink of a return to the Premiership after beating Burnley 3-2.
A stunning strike from Carlos Edwards sealed a 3-2 victory for Sunderland against Burnley and put them on the brink of a return to the Premiership.
The Black Cats had taken the lead early on through Daryl Muprhy - before goals either side of the interval from Andy Gray and Wade Elliott threatened to upset Sunderland's promotion push.
However, Sunderland levelled through David Connolly - who converted from the penalty sport after earlier missing from 12 yards, and then it was left to Edwards' fantastic late goal to win it for Roy Keane's outfit.
A slow start saw the opening chance fall for Edwards after some 13 minutes but Brian Jensen was equal to it - but he had no answer for Sunderland's opener soon after when Murphy produced an excellent finish from close-range following good work from Connolly down the right.
Sunderland then missed a glorious chance to double their lead on 20 minutes when referee Trevor Kettle adjudged Wayne Thomas to have tripped Connolly with his arm as he fell. Justice was seemingly done when Jensen dived brilliantly to his right to tip Connolly's effort wide of the post.
Liam Miller then blasted wide as Sunderland dominated possession - but could not find a way through.
Suddenly from almost nothing Burnley were handed a lifeline as Elliott went down under the challenge of Darren Ward and again the decision to award a penalty looked harsh.
But unlike Connolly, former Black Cat Gray kept his nerve and beat Ward.
Sunderland were somewhat shell-shocked by the leveller, and then they could hardly believe what happened just minutes after the break when Elliott fired home a stupendous shot from 30 yards to give Burnley an unlikely lead.
Burnley taking the lead seemed to give Sunderland the jolt they needed and within minutes they had found an equaliser and it was another penalty.
This time Edwards was floored by an advancing Jensen, but this time the Dutch shot-stopper had no answer to Connolly's effort as he found the back of the net.
Jensen was needed to produce a string of good saves with Murphy and Edwards going close - but the Trinidad & Tobago ace was not to be denied.
With ten minutes left he picked up the ball 30 yards out and went unchallenged before unleashing a stunning drive into the top corner and left Jensen helpless.
The win takes Sunderland back to the top of the table and their promotion to the top-flight could be confirmed on Sunday - if third-placed Derby lose to Crystal Palace.