Brown shows promotion class

Queen's Park Rangers 1 Sunderland 3
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The Independent Online

Should Queen's Park Rangers make a late charge into the play-offs, it will be greeted with unrestrained delight in this corner of West London. Should Sunderland join them, it will be greeted like a disaster on Wearside.

Should Queen's Park Rangers make a late charge into the play-offs, it will be greeted with unrestrained delight in this corner of West London. Should Sunderland join them, it will be greeted like a disaster on Wearside.

The Black Cats moved five points clear of Wigan Athletic and Ipswich Town at the top of the Championship with this victory and appear to be on course for an automatic return to the Premiership. They travel to Wigan tomorrow night on the back of seven consecutive victories. Yet, for 45 minutes at Loftus Road, Sunderland looked like a side whose poise and purpose had deserted them.

Trailing to Dan Shittu's header, Mick McCarthy's side should have been dead and buried by the time his players walked dejectedly towards the dressing-room at half-time.

"I can't tell you what I said in the dressing-room," McCarthy said. "But a plethora of swear words were used to describe what I thought of our performance." Whatever he said worked, but it was a decision made before the break which ultimately turned the tide back in Sunderland's favour.

With QPR easing the opposition strike pairing, Marcus Stewart and Stephen Elliott, out of the game, McCarthy sent on the 20-year-old striker Chris Brown for the midfielder Jeff Whitley.

"We needed someone to cause a nuisance and Chris did that very well," McCarthy said. Sunderland were level within a minute of the restart, through an Andy Welsh volley. Brown then linked up superbly with Dean Whitehead, handing the visitors the lead with a confident first-time shot, before Julio Arca completed the turnaround.

McCarthy's opposite number, Ian Holloway, had some choice words for his players after the final whistle: "The players spoke of a loss of concentration after the game, but I wanted them to show desire. That's what Sunderland had and there is a massive difference between the two."

Goals: Shittu (22) 1-0; Welsh (46) 1-1; Brown (63) 1-2; Arca (75)1-3.

Queen's Park Rangers (4-4-2): Royce; Bignut, Shittu, Davies, Padula; Rowlands (Sturridge, 34; Cureton, 63), Santos, Bircham (Miller, 87), Cook; Gallen, Furlong. Substitutes not used: Rossi, Baidoo.

Sunderland (4-4-2) Myhre; Wright, Breen, Caldwell, Arca; Whitehead, Robinson, Whitley (Brown, 42), Welsh (Collins, 58); Stewart (Thornton, 77), Elliott. Substitutes not used: Alnwick, Bridges.

Referee: P Dowd (Staffordshire).

Booked: Queen's Park Rangers: Furlong, Cook. Sunderland Brown, Whitehead.

Man of the match: Brown.

Attendance: 18,198.

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