VENUE: Stadium of Light
RESULT: Lads 1, Monkey Hangers 0
TEAM: . Poom, Wright, Bjorklund (Williams 74), Babb, McCartney, Arca, Clark, Whitley, Oster (Butler 81), Stewart, Proctor
SUBS NOT USED: : Ingham, Ramsden, Teggart
BOOKED: Arca (5th booking of season, misses Millwall match).
BACK IN BLACK: Graham Barber
“It was a hard-fought victory, but it was a victory.
“I’m full of admiration for the players because a lot has been going off at the club and whoever has come in and been asked to do a job.
“Phil Babb, Joachim Bjorklund, they were available for transfer and no-one seemed to want them and they got a bit of grief – and they’ve been excellent.
“Ben Clark came in and sat in the centre of midfield and looked every inch a midfield player and did a job.
“Julio is a left-back, but he had to play left-wing, and I just think I have to admire them for the way they approached the game.
“It was a difficult game today. It was one of those games where they are not going to come out with any great credit for beating their local rivals, who are in a league lower. They have come and given a good account of themselves, put us under pressure in the last 10 minutes. But I think we shaded it and we deserved it.
“You have got to win it, and thankfully, we managed that.”
Arca’s quality goal, his third of the season, was enough to win it for the First Division side.
It was a scrappy start but Sunderland should have been in front by the seventh minute, when Michael Proctor’s clever dummy put Stewart clear and his left-foot shot struck the post.
The first half was evenly matched, although it was the home side that created the best chances.
Pools made a good job of frustrating Sunderland on a bobbly surface, and the main threat the away side posed was from Ritchie Humphreys’ long throws.
Pools started the second half in better shape, forcing Sunderland into mistakes on a poor playing surface, and when the Black Cats finally broke the deadlock, it came against the run of play.
Sunderland grew in confidence after going ahead and both Oster and Proctor had chances to put the home side further in front.
Hartlepool, however, refused to lie down and they nearly struck an equaliser in the 67th minute.
The biggest crowd on Wearside this season watched a wide open tie swing one way and then the next.
Hartlepool’s tactics of closing down and fighting for every challenge ensured that there was little room for Sunderland’s players to prove their superiority.
Only a goal-line clearance from Phil Babb in the 89th minute prevented Eifion Williams from equalising for United.
Hartlepool and their tremendous 9,000 support will hold their heads high after more than doing themselves justice.
…an entertaining derby that proved the gap between these two neighbours is a slim one.
Poom was forced to make several fine saves and only a goalline clearance by Phil Babb in the final minutes deprived Hartlepool of a replay.
Sunderland always had the extra edge over Neale Cooper’s side, who deserved their ovation at the end from both sets of fans.
McCarthy’s outfit, the current form team in the First Division, carved out a series of chances.
Sunday Mirror MoTM: Julio Arca
Sunday Mirror player ratings: Poom 8, Wright 6, Bjorklund 6 (Williams 6), Babb 7, McCartney 7, Oster 6, Whitley 5, Clark 6, ARCA 8, Proctor 5, Stewart 6.
A tight, taut Cup tie, fuelled by deep-seated local rivalry was decided by a moment of cool-headed precision from Julio Arca. He calmly put the ball away as Hartlepool played helter-skelter with it in their own box.
It was Phil Babb’s desperate last-minute clearance that won the day.
Sunderland hit the post twice but Hartlepool’s impressive front line fully extended the Mart Poom.
As the game progressed, it was the powerful shooting of Eifion Williams that called Poom into action. In the 34th minute the Welshman curled a delicious shot around a defender.
A ballooning kick from Poom bounced dangerously and Matty Robson’s calamitous clearance hit his own defenders. It fell kindly to the only Sunderland player in the vicinity, Arca, who cruelly placed the ball beyond Jim Provett’s reach.
It was never an easy ride for Mick McCarthy’s side.
Hartlepool’s hopes of reaching the promotion play-offs can be enhanced when they look back on this committed, skilful performance.
Hartlepool’s industry was complemented by a desire to pass the ball rather than fire it forward.
The visitors grew in confidence with every passing minute and Sunderland’s Mart Poom had to make two excellent saves in quick succession.
Sunderland’s control was only briefly interrupted, though, and they again went close to an opening goal when Arca’s powerful shot thudded against the post.
Only a desperate last-ditch tackle by Arca prevented Williams hooking the ball past Poom.
A crowd in excess of 40,000 watched Sunderland stumble into the fourth round.
Impressing in the Second Division this season, Neale Cooper’s side were proving anything but pushovers.
The visitors ensured that the midfield contest was surprisingly even.
Cooper’s team might well have taken the lead when Phil Babb made an alarming defensive blunder and Paul Robinson nearly curled an effort beyond Mart Poom’s reach.
Sunderland’s attacking thrusts featured far too many long, high balls which might have been some use had Kevin Kyle not been suspended.
Arca could have been forgiven for wondering what on earth he was doing playing for a team as poor as Sunderland and it was appropriate that he shot McCarthy’s men ahead.
…with Sunderland’s Liverpool old boys, Babb and Stephen Wright, having shockers, Hartlepool remained menacing; Babb though did prevent a seemingly certain replay.
Arca netted in the second-half, latching on to a long clearance which Pools’ defence could not handle.
The goal was harsh on the visitors who often threatened, particularly through Eifion Williams and Paul Robinson.
Hartlepool looked more likely to score late on.
Mart Poom had to be alert to save a Robinson shot on 13 minutes, and the Black Cats were even more grateful to the Estonian just after the half-hour.
For Sunderland, Jon Oster and Jeff Whitley both squandered chances.
Arca’s goal lifted Sunderland, and Provett produced a great reaction save from a Stewart header