Sunderland in blunderland

FA Cup third round: Stadium of Blight for Reid as Megson masterminds the giant-killing of the day
Click to follow
The Independent Online

West Bromwich Albion, sixth in the Nationwide First Division, pulled off the upset of the third round of the FA Cup when they went to the Stadium of Light and beat Premiership Sunderland 2-1. Albion trailed to a Kevin Phillips goal but got back into the game thanks to a Neil Clement penalty after Jason Roberts was brought down, and won the tie when Andy Johnson stole in to finish with a thumping 61st-minute header and claim Albion's place in the fourth- round draw this evening at 9pm.

Gary Megson, Albion's manager, was delighted with his side's performance. Peter Reid's Sunderland "had a lot of possession but did not really make the goalkeeper make too many saves. We've scored twice and hit the post and the bar in the first half, so it's not all about possession", he added.

There was a shock of almost equal magnitude on the South Coast, where Third Division Leyton Orient came back from being a disheartening own goal down after 45 minutes to crush First Division Portsmouth 4-1 at Fratton Park.

Pompey paid the full price for not making more of their first-period domination when Orient's second-half rampage began three minutes after the restart as Dean Smith, whose error had presented Pompey with their lead, levelled. Steve Watts made it 2-1, Wayne Gray added the east Londoners' third and Iyseden Christie's injury-time strike completed the triumph for Paul Brush's side.

Elsewhere, there were good home draws for the First Division sides Barnsley and Norwich City against Blackburn Rovers and Chelsea respectively. The Canaries withstood long periods of Chelsea pressure at Carrow Road, but by the end of the game it was the London side who were hanging on for the replay. John Terry, the Chelsea defender charged after an alleged nightclub incident in the early hours of Friday, was relegated to substitute but came on for Marcel Desailly.

At Oakwell, Barnsley, much revived under new manager Steve Parkin's stewardship, took the lead against Graeme Souness's side when Darren Barnard's 30-yard shot in the 76th minute flew into the top corner of Brad Friedel's net.

But you can always rely on a former player to score against his old club and Craig Hignett, the midfielder Rovers signed from the Tykes for £2.25 million in 2000, glanced in a header from Alan Mahon's left-wing cross to end Rovers' goal drought and take the tie back to Ewood Park.

There was a fine draw, too, for Third Division York City, whose players set aside their worries about the club's precarious future to have much the better of a goalless draw with Grimsby Town.

Comments