Middlesbrough 2-0 Sunderland: Boro breeze past local rivals in Pulis' Riverside curtain-raiser

Tony Pulis won the hearts of many Middlesbrough fans in his curtain-raiser at The Riverside Stadium, as goals from Rudy Gestede and Martin Braithwaite gave them a 2-0 victory over local rivals Sunderland in the third round of The FA Cup. 

They couldn't have asked for a better start when Gestede gave them the lead ten minutes in, it certainly could have been more as Braithwaite missed two good opportunities before slotting home at the third time of asking three minutes from the break. 

The second period seriously lacked a lot of things that the first had brought to the table, the only highlights would come from the goalkeepers as Darren Randolph and Jason Steele both made excellent saves but it was Boro who would be going into the fourth round. 

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Couldn't ask for a better start 

The Tees-Wear derby was one of the main rivalries that were pulled out for the third round of the world's oldest cup competition, Pulis' influence had been felt early into his reign with the 3-2 win over Preston and couldn't have asked for a better start against Chris Coleman's side as they took the lead. 

It all came from Adama Traore as he did well to find space in the middle and did well to knit a neat through ball into the feet of Gestede, the former Boro man Steele came flying off his line but could do nothing as Gestede slipped it into the bottom corner. 

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Trying to put distance between them 

Boro were looking relentless going forward despite taking the lead and nearly doubled their lead almost instantaneously, Traore was involved again as he played another killer through ball this time into Braithwaite and Steele redeemed himself as he made a decent save. 

Sunderland's best chance came in the 26th minute but Boro managed to break quickly as Josh Maja looked to pull the trigger, the ball eventually came up to Braithwaite but the effort just shaved Steele's upright. 

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Third time lucky 

As the period entered it's final moments it didn't look like Boro were going to relent going forward and it proved dividends as they doubled their lead, most of the blame can fall at the feet of Sunderland's backline as they failed to clear the corner in and Braithwaite was waiting in the wings to tap home. 

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Tale of two goalkeepers 

As both sides came out for the second period it did look like the job had been done for Pulis' side and it showed as neither team really created much throughout the half, but two rare opportunities brought two equally great save from both goalkeepers. 

The first came from a rare move forward from The Black Cats as Tyias Browning did well to get his head onto Bryan Oviedo's corner, but Randolph regained his concentration which hadn't been needed throughout to keep the shot away from danger. 

Steele went one better on his old stomping ground five minutes later as Gestede made excellent contact with Ryan Shotton's cross, the striker hit the volley into the turf and looked destined for the top corner but Steele did well to get a strong hand on it.