A dull first half at the Riverside exploded into life when Jack Colback thundered in a wonderful volley after 42 minutes for Sunderland but Middlesbrough hit back quick after the as Lukas Jutkiewicz scored his first goal for the club. The two teams couldn’t be separated and extra time was needed.
The game looked destined for penalties but sadly for The Boro the FA Cup magic couldn’t hold out that long and the subdued Stephane Sessegnon struck with only 11 minutes to spare to send Sunderland through.
The match lacked the intensity of the previous leg and offered very little in terms of talent either. Tony Mowbray fielded a youthful team who made life difficult for the premier league’s form side but it was a former Sunderland old boy who had the first decent attempt. Julio Arca forced an awkward save from Simon Mignolet after 12 minutes.
But it would Martin O’Neil’s youthful midfielder, Colback, who would draw first blood in the tie, letting loose an unstoppable volley after a nice comforted header back from Frazier Campbell just before half time. This seemed to spark Boro into life as they surged forward and Curtis Main forced a fine save from Mignolet.
This pressure continued after the break and it was soon rewarded as Jutkiewicz found himself in far too much space inside Sunderland’s penalty area and showed the cool to end his five game goal drought. The game picked up in quality but still neither side could find a way through until the Black Cats broke forward on the counter in the second half of extra time.
Sessegnon, in a rare run at the defence, flicked the ball to Conor Wickham who dallied on the ball but as the opportunity seemed to have been lost after the striker was tackled. Yet, Sessegnon pounced on the loose ball and secured a fifth round home tie against Arsenal on February 18th. Indecently, they play the Gunners this weekend as well.