Sunderland 3 Carlisle 1 match report: Adam Johnson and debutant El Hadji Ba give manager Gus Poyet a boost

Relegation-haunted Black Cats sweep aside the League One side at the Stadium of Light

Beleaguered Gus Poyet was handed a boost as Sunderland eased past League One Carlisle to book their place in the FA Cup fourth round.

The relegation-haunted Black Cats headed in at 1-1 at half-time after Matty Robson had cancelled out Adam Johnson's fine free-kick.

However, Sean O'Hanlon's own goal and a late strike from substitute El-Hadji Ba meant it ended 3-1 to the hosts, killing off any hope of an upset for the 5,631 travelling fans among a crowd of 21,973 and securing a fourth round home tie against either Kidderminster or Peterborough for Poyet's men.

The fact that it was achieved without skipper John O'Shea, Italy midfielder Emanuele Giaccherini and main striker Steven Fletcher will have been a source of comfort for the Uruguayan amid a cluttered schedule.

However, while progression in both domestic cup competitions has been welcome, it is the fight for Premier League survival which remains the overriding priority.

Carlisle have their own problems with the club sitting just three points clear of the drop zone, but they should return to league action boosted by a creditable display after they more than made a fist of it against top-flight opposition.

Their visit to Wearside came at precisely the wrong time for Poyet and his players with the first leg of their Capital One Cup semi-final against Manchester United scheduled for Tuesday evening, and the manager made seven changes as he attempted to manage his scarce resources.

But the Uruguayan returned to the dressing room at half-time with many questions remaining unanswered.

Poyet chose to field midfielder Ki Sung-yueng alongside Wes Brown on his return from suspension in central defence, while there was another start for striker Ji Dong-won on the left wing.

But it was Craig Gardner, prompted by midfield colleagues Johnson and Sebastian Larsson, who carried the biggest threat for the home side in the early stages with a series of long-range efforts, although only one of them forced visiting goalkeeper Greg Fleming to make a save.

Fleming did, however, distinguish himself with a fine one-on-one block to deny Jozy Altidore after he had been played in by Johnson with 17 minutes gone, and the United States international later scuffed another effort harmlessly wide from close range.

In the meantime, Prince Buaben had tested Sunderland goalkeeper Vito Mannone at his near post with the League One side still well in the game.

The visitors eventually fell behind 12 minutes before the break as Johnson produced a piece of real quality after Gardner had been tripped by David Amoo 25 yards out.

His curling free-kick was too well placed for Fleming and sailed inside the post to give the Black Cats the advantage they craved.

However, the lead lasted just nine minutes as Amoo atoned for his part in the opening goal by sending in a cross which had Mannone flapping helplessly and Robson latched on to the loose ball to smash it home off the underside of the bar despite Brown's best efforts on the line.

Mannone was grateful to collect James Berrett's deflected injury-time effort as the Cumbrians sensed an opportunity.

But the Black Cats restored their lead within five minutes of the restart when Johnson played Larsson's cross first time back across goal and Carlisle skipper O'Hanlon sliced his attempted clearance past Fleming and into the net.

The visitors immediately embarked upon the search for a second equaliser with full-back Brad Potts getting forward well in support of Amoo down the right, but with Sunderland starting to retain possession their hopes dwindled.

Ki and Ji departed for Phil Bardsley and senior debutant Duncan Watmore with 27 minutes remaining, and the former Altrincham striker almost made his mark within five minutes when he fed Altidore and then ran on to the American's back-heeled pass before forcing another good save from Fleming.

The Black Cats assumed complete control as time ran down with Watmore providing fresh legs and an enterprising outlook, and the visitors found themselves having to defend ever deeper as time ran down.

Ba, an 80th-minute replacement for Larsson, made sure in the final minute of normal time with a helping hand from Altidore to complete a solid afternoon's work.

PA

Suggested Topics
News
people
Sport
FootballGerman sparks three goals in four minutes at favourite No 10 role
News
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Sport
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
athletics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Radamel Falcao was forced to withdraw from the World Cup after undergoing surgery
premier leagueExclusive: Reds have agreement with Monaco
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Life and Style
Walking tall: unlike some, Donatella Versace showed a strong and vibrant collection
fashionAlexander Fury on the staid Italian clothing industry
Arts and Entertainment
Gregory Porter learnt about his father’s voice at his funeral
music
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Life and Style
Children at the Leytonstone branch of the Homeless Children's Aid and Adoption Society tuck into their harvest festival gifts, in October 1936
food + drinkThe harvest festival is back, but forget cans of tuna and packets of instant mash
Sport
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
New Articles
i100
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
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.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam