Magpies steal Sunderland's thunder

Sunderland 1 Notts County 2: Bruce offers no excuses for upset as his team of internationals fall to a spirited League One side

Defeat to one set of Mapgies is unfortunate. Losing to a second set of black and whites next Sunday would not only be careless, but would remove from Steve Bruce the excuse to which he stuck after this significant setback, namely that he was keeping his powder dry for more important matters ahead.

Saving themselves for the visit of Newcastle in the Tyne-Wear derby, the Wearside club failed to pay heed to the threat posed by Notts County, who made light of the 52-place gulf between the clubs. Their's was a richly merited victory.

Despite making numerous changes, Bruce could still send out a side that featured £50m of talent and was packed with internationals, but little good it did him as the Premier League team were undone by the manager's former Manchester United team-mate, Paul Ince.

Unsurprisingly, Bruce cut a dejected figure in the aftermath of a defeat which was very much on the cards once the identity of the team entrusted by the 50-year-old to ensure progress to the next stage became apparent. Ince, who has suffered only one defeat in 11 games since taking charge at Meadow Lane in October, saw his side take their place in round four after an absorbing 90 minutes.

"There's no worse feeling than this," Bruce conceded. "One thing's for certain, there won't be a repeat of this display against Newcastle, we can't afford a repeat and we won't let it happen." For the Sunderland manager's sake, let's hope he is right.

Bruce added: "I won't make excuses because that wouldn't be fair on Notts County. We didn't take part until I changed things round in the second half but the fact remains that we had international footballers out there who've been knocking on my door asking for a chance and they were found wanting."

The League One team were ahead as early as the fifth minute thanks, in part, to the non-intervention of Stuart Attwell, a referee with history when it comes to incurring the wrath of the Sunderland manager, having allowed a controversial goal for Liverpool when Sunderland had to settled for a point at Anfield in September.

Craig Westcarr's hopeful flick from a Ben Davies centre from the left should have made for a routine claim for Simon Mignolet, in goal for the hosts, but the young Belgian appeared to be impeded by a combination of the veteran County forward Lee Hughes and Sunderland's Kieran Richardson, causing him to drop the ball into his net. Those in red and white on the pitch and in the stands clearly expected a well-positioned Attwell to award a foul against their goalkeeper, but no such call came.

It was a lead the visitors were not to relinquish, thanks to some quite heroic defending and some woeful finishing from Sunderland's £25m forward pairing of Darren Bent and Asamoah Gyan, who continue to struggle together, a fact which must be of growing concern to Bruce. Both expensively acquired forwards were guilty of at least three glaring misses as the hosts sought a way back, although Bent atoned somewhat with an 81st-minute penalty, his 11th goal of the season, after Ricky Ravenhill had brought down the recalled midfielder Andy Reid in the area, as the hosts piled on the pressure.

The forward's confident spot kick, sending Stuart Nelson the wrong way, only halved the deficit, Hughes having doubled the visitors' lead six minutes earlier, following up to slot home his 10th goal of the season and sixth in seven games from an acute angle after Mignolet had saved his first attempt with his legs.

"It's a fantastic win," Alex Rae, Notts County's assistant manger, said. The Scot has been assigned post-match press duties by the superstitious Ince during the club's impressive seven-game unbeaten run, and the former Sunderland midfielder added: "We seemed to find an extra yard all over the pitch. You can say that Steve Bruce made plenty of changes but they still had a side packed with internationals so it's a victory to savour.

"It's a win for our fans because they live for days like this and rightly so."

Referee: Stuart Attwell

Man of the match: Hughes

Match rating: 7/10

Attendance: 17,582

News
The guide, since withdrawn, used illustrations and text to help people understand the court process (Getty)
newsMinistry of Justice gets law 'terribly wrong' in its guide to courts
News
Bobbi Kristina Brown with her mother Whitney Houston in 2011
people
News
Starting the day with a three-egg omelette could make people more charitable, according to new research
scienceFeed someone a big omelette, and they may give twice as much, thanks to a compound in the eggs
News
Top Gun actor Val Kilmer lost his small claims court battle in Van Nuys with the landlord of his Malibu mansion to get back his deposit after wallpapering over the kitchen cabinets
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
The actress Geraldine McEwan was perhaps best known for playing Agatha Christie's detective, Miss Marple (Rex)
peopleShe won a Bafta in 1991 for her role in Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit
News
newsPatrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
News
Robert Fraser, aka Groovy Bob
peopleA new show honours Robert Fraser, one of the era's forgotten players
Life and Style
Torsten Sherwood's Noook is a simple construction toy for creating mini-architecture
tech
Sport
David Silva celebrates with Sergio Aguero after equalising against Chelsea
footballChelsea 1 Manchester City 1
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links