Game of the Day: Preston 0 SAFC 2

by Ashley Houghton

McCarthy's men win at Deepdale.

23rd August 2003

Sunderland avoided an unwanted place in the record books as the Black Cats beat Preston North End 2-0 at Deepdale.

Had Mick McCarthy’s side lost the game, they would have matched Darwen’s record of 18 straight defeats in the 1898-99 season.

However, goals from Sean Thornton and Marcus Stewart ensured that Sunderland would not take the record.

The win in Lancashire began a four-match winning run for the visitors, who finished third at the end of the campaign.

The Black Cats were ahead after just four minutes as Stewart forced Jonathan Gould into a terrific reflex save to deny his thumping right-foot shot but Thornton snapped up the rebound to tap the ball into an empty net.

The Wearsiders went close to doubling their lead minutes later as Matt Piper beat the offside trap, but having raced past Gould he could only smack the ball against the foot of the post from a tight angle.

But Sunderland did double their advantage moments later as Kevin Kyle flicked the ball on and Stewart reacted quickest to thump the ball home from eight yards.

Dickson Etuhu nearly pulled a goal back for Preston just before the break, but his long-range drive fizzed just past the upright with Mart Poom rooted to the spot.

Ricardo Fuller had a frustrating day and his blistering 20-yard drive was kept out by a flying save from Poom.

Sunderland: Poom, Wright, Breen, Clark (McCartney, 29), Arca, Piper (Healy, 51), Thornton, Thirlwell, Kilbane, Kyle, Stewart (Proctor, 83).

Subs not used: Oster, Ingham.