Battling Boro take Sunderland all the way

Sunderland 1-1 Middlesbrough

An impressive performance from Middlesbrough saw them hold Sunderland to a draw in today’s Tees-Wear derby at the Stadium of Light. The 1-1 draw means that the pulsating tie will be repeated next week in a replay at the Riverside Stadium.

The biggest surprise on the teamsheets was the exclusion of Stockton born Lee Cattermole from Sunderland’s starting lineup, with a hamstring injury preventing him from facing his hometown club. Boro started the game brightly and went ahead in the 16th minute after a John O’Shea clearance fell for Barry Robson to hit a powerful volley into the bottom corner. The away end erupted as the 3,000 travelling Boro fans nearly blew the roof off the stadium.

The Black Cats looked shaky after conceding and Boro tried to pounce with Marvin Emnes going close with a long range strike. Sunderland were struggling to come to terms with the all action Boro pressing them all over the pitch and showing more bite in midfield. They finally began to find their feet towards the end of the second half with James McClean twice going close. They thought they had equalised in the 40th minute when Craig Gardner struck the ball past Danny Coyne in Middlesbrough’s goal. However, the assistant referee had raised his flag indicating an offside against Connor Wickham.

Boro could and probably should have gone into the break 2 up after Lukas Jutkiewicz had a shot well saved, only for the rebound to fall to Faris Haroun who scuffed his shot straight back to Jutkiewicz, but the Pole shot wide from a tight angle.

3,000 Boro fans made the short journey up the A19

Sunderland began to show their Premier League quality at the start of the second half with Stephane Sessegnon beginning to have some influence over proceedings. Boro continued to attack in search of a second and this would be their undoing as Sunderland claimed an equaliser in the 59th minute. A Boro corner was partially cleared to Barry Robson, who looked like he had things under control only to inexplicably give the ball straight to James McClean who squared the ball to Fraizer Campbell for the striker to calmy stroke into the bottom corner.

Both teams went in search of a winner motivated by the cracking atmosphere created by the vocal support from both sets of fans. Marvin Emnes and Rhys Williams saw volleys go wide for Boro whilst McClean hit the side netting with a decent effort in stoppage time. The game fizzled out in the end and Boro fans will have been delighted with the gutsy performance from their team, Sunderland will need to improve if they are to progress into a 5th round tie with Arsenal.

Scorers: Robson (16), Campbell (59)

Sunderland: Mignolet 6, Bardsley 6, Brown 5 (Turner 6), O’Shea (c) 6, Richardson 5, Larsson 6, Gardner 5, Vaughan 4 (Colback), McClean 8, Sessegnon 7, Wickham 4 (Campbell 7). Subs not used: Westwood, Elmohamady, Meyler, Ji

Middlesbrough: Coyne 6 (Ripley), McMahon 6, Hines 5, Bates (c) 7, Hoyte 5, Haroun 8, R. Williams 7, Robson 8, McDonald 6, Emnes 7, Jutkiewicz 7. Subs not used: Bennett, Smallwood, Martin, Park, L. Williams, Main

Man of the Match: Faris Haroun

Referee: Kevin Friend (Leicestershire) 3 – Gave far too many soft fouls which didn’t help the flow of the game and created a volatile atmosphere in the stands

Bookings: Richardson (Sunderland), Hoyte (Middlesbrough), R. Williams (Middlesbrough)

Attendance: 33,275


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