Sunderland slip out of cup.
Sunderland’s hopes of extending their six game unbeaten run against the Teessiders perished with this derby defeat, along with dreams of a cup quarter final.
Starting with Fletcher and Saha up front, the Black Cats had a promising opening ten minutes, with Adam Johnson’s corner almost creeping in and Saha’s follow up going over the bar. However, ‘Boro quickly found their feet and started to cause the back four some problems, especially Ishmael Miller, whose strength exposed the centre backs on several occasions.
Faris Haroun tested Westwood in the Sunderland goal and Ishmael Miller should have put them 1-0 up shortly after 20 minutes. A speedy break away saw the ball flash across the Sunderland goalmouth and Miller looked certain to score, but he didn’t get the right contact and Westwood gratefully collected the ball. Then, on form Scott McDonald hit the bar and it looked like the away side would be the first to make the breakthrough.
In the 39th minute, Cuellar was outpaced as Miller ran down the side line and crossed a ball in to McDonald, who clipped it over Westwood and into the far corner, sending the ‘Boro fans into wild celebrations.
Steven Fletcher almost got the score line back to 1-1, but his powerful header was well caught by Jason Steele, who was in goal for Middlesbrough.
In the second half, Sunderland failed to have a shot on target. However, it was Sessegnon who did come close twice, with his early second half run resulting in a shot that just flashed past the post and a late header that crashed into the side netting. Sunderland had missed injured trio Danny Rose, Seb Larsson and Craig Gardner.
Fans will be hoping that this disappointing display will be forgotten when Aston Villa come to the SoL on Saturday.
Kieran Westwood, Phil Bardsley, Jack Colback, John O’Shea, Carlos Cuellar, Lee Cattermole, David Vaughan, Stephane Sessegnon, James McClean, Louis Saha, Steven Fletcher.