Sunderland skipper Michael Gray scored his first goal of the season in front of a record 47,742 Stadium of Light crowd to send Middlesbrough crashing to their eighth defeat in nine games.

The Teessiders did not perform at all well for new head coach Terry venables in a niggling derby encounter which saw four players booked.

Boro had the slightly better chances in a dourt first half when Hamilton Ricard was denied a goal just before half time by home goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen.

The game improved after the break when Boro keeper Mark Schwarzer turnedover a pile drive from Gavin McCann.

Gray broke the deadlock to giev Sunderland victory in their 2,000th home League games and lift them to fourth place in the table when he squeezed home a low angled left foot shot after Ugo Ethiogu only half cleared the fullback's low centre from the left