Sunderland 2 Queens Park Rangers 1

FOR the second game in a row, local hero Grant Leadbitter delivered a stunning winner for Sunderland to strengthen their arm in the race for the Premiership.

Leadbitter, brought up a couple of miles away from the Stadium of Light, was called into action from the bench as Queens Park Rangers threatened to depart with a point.

However, after experienced winger Martin Rowlands had struck a 23rd minute penalty to cancel out Dean Whitehead's early opener, Leadbitter delivered.

The 20-year-old, from Fencehouses, had only been on the pitch for quarter of an hour when he struck low into goalkeeper Lee Camp's bottom right from 25 yards after 76 minutes.

It was a stunning first time shot, which was laid to him on a plate by winger Carlos Edwards, that has left the Black Cats four points clear at the top of the Championship.

And, with a play-off place at least secured, Sunderland will head to Colchester next Saturday knowing that automatic promotion can be assured if results go their way.