Reading 0 Sunderland 2
20th March 2004
Sunderland extended their unbeaten run to five with a 2-0 victory over Reading at the Madejski Stadium.
The Black Cats scored twice in a minute through Tommy Smith and Darren Byfield as the Royals' play-off hopes took a huge dent.
Few chances were created in the first half and when the chances did come it was Jamie Ashdown in the Reading goal that was called into action more often.
The second half saw Sunderland gradually get a better grip on the game and Reading begin to simply hoof it upfield.
Byfield put Sunderland ahead after nipping in between Reading defenders to head past Ashdown.
And almost immediately the Black Cats scored again, Smith cut inside and fired in a shot which Ashdown saved well, however, the ball ricocheted around the six yard box, was cleared off the line by Brown, and finally tucked away by Smith with Ashdown stranded.
The visitors were reduced to ten men after a second yellow card for Jeff Whitley with seven minutes still left but Reading failed to pile on the pressure and Mick McCarthy’s side held out for the points.
Sunderland: Poom, Wright, Babb, Breen, McCartney, Thornton (Piper, 73), Oster, Whitley, Thirlwell, Kyle (Smith, 69), Byfield (Cooper, 86).
Subs not used: Williams, Myhre.