Sunderland overcome lack of composure

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The Independent Online

Sunderland bounced back from their opening-day defeat of the Coca-Cola Championship at Coventry to break down a stubborn Crewe side battered from start to finish at the Stadium of Light on Tuesday night.

Sunderland bounced back from their opening-day defeat of the Coca-Cola Championship at Coventry to break down a stubborn Crewe side battered from start to finish at the Stadium of Light on Tuesday night.

Mick McCarthy's side eventually overcame a lack of confidence and composure in front of goal - although Carl Robinson, Marcus Stewart and the substitute Stephen Elliott found the net, many clear-cut chances were squandered in the 3-1 home win.

Robinson fired Sunderland into an 11th-minute lead only for Mark Rivers to equalise just before the interval - and only a brilliant save by the stand-in goalkeeper Thomas Myhre from Dean Ashton's drive denied the Railwaymen an unlikely half-time lead.

McCarthy, who has been linked with a move for Ashton, admitted that he still wants another striker.

"Chris Brown did well for Doncaster last season when on loan, but he is not a replacement for Kevin Kyle," said the former Republic of Ireland manager.

"Kevin had a fitness test at six o'clock along with Gary Breen and they both came through it fine. I have nothing but admiration for both of them. We will go on patching Kevin up until we get to the bottom of the problem.

"The fans have already taken to Stephen Elliott, and a fit Kyle would have thrived on the crosses from Liam Lawrence.

"I think we had 26 shots on goal and we could have run away with it - but I am happy with a 3-1 win," McCarthy said.

Coventry lost 2-1 at Cardiff after letting slip the lead. The Republic of Ireland international Graham Barrett put the Sky Blues 1-0 up in the 29th minute from Bjarni Gudjonsson's corner after Robert Earnshaw had earlier hit the post for the hosts.

Earnshaw could not be denied in the 54th minute, however, when he swivelled and fired in John Robinson's right-wing cross to end a run of eight competitive club games without a goal.

Lennie Lawrence's men were ahead seven minutes later when another Robinson delivery was headed in by summer signing Lee Bullock.

Plymouth Argyle triumphed 2-0 in the battle of the promoted sides against Brighton at the Withdean Stadium.

Argyle forged ahead after 10 minutes when Paul Wotton's long-range shot was too hot for goalkeeper Michel Kuipers to hold and Danny Cullip put through his own goal in the ensuing scramble.

The visitors claimed their second on the stroke of half-time - Wotton drilling a penalty after Daniel Harding fouled Marino Keith in the area.

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