Walsall Cup (H) Report

Sunderland crashed out of the FA Cup at the hands of Walsall after an incredibly lacklustre display at the Stadium of Light.

After a poor first half performance from the lads, things got worse as Walsall went in front through Liam Kinsella’s screamer. Sunderland struggled to create anything in the second half as the Black Cats season in the cup came to an end.

Sunderland returned to FA Cup action as Jack Ross' men played Walsall for the third time already this season.

Duncan Watmore returned to the first team and started the match, it was only the winger's second first-team appearance this season.

Lee Cattermole was back in the squad as he started from the bench, the midfielder has been out with an injury since the 3-0 victory over Southend back in October.

Sunderland put out a very strong side with a lot of first-team regulars as the prize of playing Bolton in the third round awaited the winner.

The game started relatively quiet with neither side having any chances in the opening ten minutes of the game, Sunderland were edging it ever so slightly but hadn’t quite found any rhythm.

Kieron Morris for Walsall had the best chance in the opening 15 as he cut inside well and unleashed a fierce shot towards the near post, although, he could only find the side netting post.

Sunderland had their first chance soon after as George Honeyman sent Watmore through, the forward took it under control and his initial shot was blocked but had another attempt on an angle which was well saved by Liam Roberts.

On the counter-attack, Walsall had a great chance through Josh Ginnelly as he broke through on goal, he rounded Dylan McGeouch and fired a shot in which was well stopped by Jon McLaughlin.

Sunderland were getting caught out on too many occasions and if it weren’t for a brilliant last-ditch challenge from Oviedo Josh Gordon could have put his side 1-0 up.

Sunderland had a huge let off yet again as Walsall were in behind the defence, Morgan Ferrier squared it to Gordon who looked set to fire home, however, the scores stayed level thanks to a brilliant save from McLaughlin who threw himself in front of the shot.

The hosts best move of the half came with only a second left in the first half, Sinclair held the ball up well and laid it off to Max Power arriving from midfield, he struck it sweetly and had Roberts scrambling, but it flashed wide of the post.

With seven minutes played into the second half Walsall took the lead with a fantastic strike from Liam Kinsella the midfielder took aim from 20 yards out and rifled it into the top left corner.

Watmore had a great chance to score his first goal since his comeback as he was picked out by Maguire on the left, Watmore looked to bend it in the far corner, but it was deflected and went wide of the far post.

As the game went on the crowd got more and more restless with the team, it was a performance that the crowd weren’t used to seeing, there was a lack of fight and desire from the lads.

With just under 15 minutes to go Watmore came off for Bali Mumba as the youngster on to try and galvanize an incredibly poor Sunderland team who were seriously struggling to create anything.

Sunderland's last chance came through a corner from Oviedo at the death which was headed wide from Tom Flanagan.

Final Score: 0-1

ALS Man of the Match: Jon McLaughlin

Alex Miller