O’Neill delighted with performance

by Kate Smith

Manager thrilled with team and fans.

Sunderland boss Martin O’Neill was buoyed by his team’s efforts as a battling performance saw the Black Cats come back from two goals down to earn an FA Cup replay with Bolton at the Stadium of Light. 

Over 5,000 Sunderland fans were at the Reebok Stadium to see their side turn in a determined display to stay in the competition and the manager could not speak anymore highly of the performance of both the players and supporters after a very busy couple of weeks.

O’Neill told safc.com: “I’m delighted with the second half performance and that we are still in the competition.

“It was a stirring effort and the players did magnificently.

“They found some energy from somewhere to dig deep and fight back after conceding two sloppy goals and lose a couple of more players to injuries.

“Just after their second goal we perhaps could have been forgiven for packing in, but  we didn’t and neither did the crowd.”

Second half goals from Connor Wickham and Craig Gardner gave Sunderland an FA Cup lifeline and ensured an exciting finish to the game.

“The second half was non-stop.” O’Neill continued.

“We had chances to go on and get a winner, [James] McClean went close and so did Titus [Bramble] when he had a header from a tight angle.

“We fought really strongly and I’m delighted with the effort from the team and crowd.

“Bolton’s goalkeeper made a number of good saves to keep them in the game towards the end. He was outstanding for them.

“We looked like we had ran out of energy at Anfield earlier in the week but today we found some resource and determination to go on.

“To be in the hat for the next round is what we wanted and we’ve achieved that.”