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Monday 18 December 2017

Poyet savours comeback as Cats march on

fa cup 4th rd replay round-up

Gus Poyet has not enjoyed many of Sunderland's performances this season, but the 3-1 comeback win at Fulham put a smile on his face.

For much of the day, it did not appear that this FA Cup fourth-round replay would go the Black Cats' way.

Jack Rodwell pulled out with a minor knock on the morning of the game and Connor Wickham was unable to take his place in the starting line-up after picking up a calf complaint in the warm-up.

Things got worse still when Hugo Rodallega gave Fulham a 28th-minute lead against the run of play, but Sunderland at last got some luck when home goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli scored an embarrassing own goal.

It proved to be the game-changing moment at Craven Cottage, where Ricardo Alvarez's fine strike and a Jordi Gomez penalty secured the Black Cats a 3-1 win and fifth-round trip to giant-killing Bradford.

"I was just thinking how unfair football is because we were the better team by far, we were creating and controlling the ball," Poyet (above) said of his emotions when his side were behind.

"We didn't allow Fulham to play the game they like to play and we conceded a very strange goal as well.

"I just wanted the players to believe that something would happen.

"I think the equaliser was probably the turning point of the game, but overall we deserved to win the game so I don't think it's an action to analyse too much.

"From our point of view, it was a game we needed to get back to a certain way of football, a certain way of passing football, controlling and being aggressive.

"The result should have been a consequence of that but, in the end, something needed to happen and maybe that goal changed the game for us. Overall, I am pleased. I really enjoyed it."

Preston North End secured their fifth-round home tie against Manchester United as Paul Gallagher scored twice in the 3-1 victory over League One rivals Sheffield United.

Jamie Murphy gave the Blades a half-time lead, but North End then hit three in 10 minutes. Gallagher, who scored a stunning free-kick in the first tie at Deepdale, repeated the trick to equalise.

Paul Huntington then headed in Scott Laird's corner, before Gallagher converted a penalty to secure victory.

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