Sunderland brushed aside Burnley 2-1 at the Stadium of Light to leave the Clarets clinging on to their Premier League status by their fingertips.

Fraizer Campbell and Darren Bent fired Sunderland into a 2-0 lead at half-time and with the hosts taking their foot off the pedal, substitute Steven Thompson notched a late reply.

In truth, Sunderland should have won much more comfortably. Brian Jensen in the Burnley goal had to make a fine save to deny John Mensah from a corner and the Clarets man was by far the busier of the two goalkeepers.

Indeed, Jensen’s opposite number Craig Gordon was unemployed until the 67th minute when Graham Alexander picked him out with a weak shot from thirty yards.

By that point Sunderland were home and dry. Burnley centre-backs Michael Duff and Leon Cort never dealt with the excellent movement of Campbell and Bent, with Kenwyne Jones masterful in the air and with his back to goal.

It was from the right flank that the opening goal came. Danny Fox got too tight and allowed Alan Hutton to make hay down the right flank, the Scottish full-back picking out Campbell in the six yard box for a simple finish.

Neither Clarets defender had tracked Campbell’s run and it was to be the same story when the second goal came.

Jordan Henderson was given all the time in the world to loft a delicious pass over Fox for Campbell, who nodded the ball across goal for Bent to tap home.

It was delightful in its simplicity and summed up why Burnley find themselves facing relegation. They simply cannot defend.

Sunderland should have had far more, but failing to take their chances has been a theme that has permeated their season.

Indeed, when Burnley introduced Robbie Blake with ten minutes to go the dimunitive, veteran immediately unlocked the dozing Black Cats back line.

First he linked up well with Fox before slipping in Thomps0n, who wasted no time rifling past Gordon from twenty yards with a smartly taken effort.

The goal was to mean nothing though, with only a win able to keep Burnley’s hopes alive.

And they mustered no more efforts at the end to head back to East Lancashire knowing they could be relegated next weekend.

Sunderland will be content with maintaining their solid home form and giving themselves a chance to finish squarely in mid table after struggling last time out.

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