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Match Report: Middlesbrough 1-2 Sunderland (AET)

Saturday 11th February 2012
Middlesbrough were knocked out of the Budweiser FA cup by Premier League side Sunderland after a close fought encounter at the Riverside stadium.

The Teesiders battled valiantly with their North-East rivals over more than 200 minutes of football and could have quite easily won the tie over the 120 plus minutes of the replay on Teesside, just as they could of at the Stadium of Light 10 days earlier.

South Shields-born Curtis Main, made his first ever start for Boro in a side that contained seven players born or raised in the North-East, the home side making five changes from the 11 that started the original game at the Stadium of Light due to injury.

Sunderland made 3 changes from the 11 that started the first tie with Campbell, Turner and Colback coming in for Brown, Vaughan and Wickham respectively.

It was Sunderland who had the first real chance when Seb Larsson whipped a free-kick in from the left but Boro keeper Jason Steele showed good handling to take the ball at the front post despite an awkward bounce in front of him.

The home side gradually got themselves more involved in the game and it was them who had the better opportunities.

Sunderland stopper Simon Mignolet, had to be alert to keep out a 20 yard Julio Arca effort on 13 minutes and John O'Shea did well to intercept a Tony McMahon cross with Jutkiewicz lurking menacingly behind him.

Boro continued to carve out the best of the opportunities and might have taken the lead just after the half hour mark when Lukas Jutkiewicz flicked on Tony McMahon's free-kick and defender Seb Hines stabbed a shot goal wards which Mignolet tipped over at full stretch.

Just as the Teessider's were gaining a foothold in the game Sunderland hit back spectacularly.

Fraizer Campbell, who scored the equaliser for Martin O'Neill's side at the Stadium of Light, did well to nod down in to the path of Jack Colback who controlled well and smashed a left-foot volley in off the underside of the bar.

Mowbray's men nearly produced an immediate response but Phil Bardsley got across fantasticly to block on the line from McMahon's powerful half volley and Mignolet was at full stretch to deny Main after the youngster's excellent low shot looked destined for the bottom corner.

Sunderland came out in the second half in search of a second goal and nearly got it within ten minutes, but Michael Turner could only head James McClean's cross over the bar.

The home side's persistence in front of goal finally paid off in the 57th minute, when the impressive Main got up well to flick on and Lukas Jutkiewicz smashed the ball past Mignolet from just inside the area.

Boro pressed for a winner and Mignolet was relieved to take McMahon's volley cleanly minutes later and Steele did well to deny the lively Gardener at the other end.

The home side were relieved to see Phil Bardsley's deflected strike cannon back off the post just after the 70 minute mark and Steele had to be alert ten minutes later to beat away another well struck effort from the former Manchester United man.

Boro looked more threatening as the tie entered extra time and they could of went ahead shortly before the end of the first period. Marvin Emnes' close range effort was blocked well by the Sunderland defence and Tony McMahon could only fire the rebound over from just inside the box.

The tie was settled however in the 112thminute when Stephane Sessegnon drilled home from 15 yards in front of the visiting fans to clinch the tie for Sunderland.

The defeat was disappointing to the home fans however they left the ground with a huge sense of pride having more than matched their premier league rivals over more than 200 minutes of football and finished the game with no fewer than 8 academy graduates on the pitch.
Matthew Nixon

Total articles: 28

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