Sunderland claimed victory in the battle of the top two in League One as they defeated Stanley 2-1 at the Stadium of Light.

In a breathless first half at the Stadium of Light between first and second, Sunderland had the majority of the chances.

The Reds' resolve was broken in the 15th minute when Dan Neil scored his first senior goal for Sunderland, and he did it in style.

After Lynden Gooch’s cross was headed away, Elliot Embleton nodded the ball down for Neil who beat his man and fired home from 25 yards into the left-hand corner.

Stanley got back into the game when Sean McConville’s corner ball was met beautifully by the head of Michael Nottingham who rose highest and powered his header into the top corner.

The Black Cats regained the lead shortly after the half-time break when Carl Winchester broke through from Aiden McGeady’s pass and stroked the ball into the left corner for his second goal of the season as Lee Johnson’s side held on for the win.

Sunderland: Hoffmann, Winchester, Flanagan, Doyle, Cirkin, O'Nien, Neil, McGeady, Embleton (Weight), Gooch (Pritchard), Stewart

Stanley: Trafford, Sykes, Nottingham, Sherring, Clark (Mumbongo), Pell (Hamilton), Morgan, Butcher (Malcolm), McConville, Charles, Bishop