Darren Byfield

Flashback: Cats cash in

by Stuart Vose

Review Sunderland's last win at the Madejski Stadium.

Sunderland moved into sixth place in the Coca-Cola Championship with a 2-0 win at Reading in the 2003-04 season.

Mick McCarthy’s side struck twice in the second half as Darren Byfield and Tommy Smith popped up within three minutes of each other to aid the Black Cats’ bid for promotion.

A clash of two sides chasing elevation to the top flight produced a typically tight encounter which didn’t swing in the visitors’ favour until McCarthy made an inspired change 20 minutes from time.

The Sunderland chief introduced Smith in place of Kevin Kyle – and the switch immediately had the Royals in retreat.

The deadlock was finally broken in the 72nd minute when Darren Byfield stole in to head George McCartney’s cross past Jamie Ashdown, much to the delight of the 2,500 travelling fans.

And it was sub Smith who applied the coup de grace two minutes later, smashing home his sixth goal of the season after the home defence failed to clear.

Jeff Whitley received his marching orders for a second bookable offence seven minutes from time, but Sunderland held out with Mart Poom solid in the visitors’ goal on his way to an excellent clean sheet.