THE stadium was simmering with anticipation, with a reasonable crowd for such an early Capital One Cup game.
But, after the initial early exchanges, there was little between the two sides, disappointingly. We saw a few glimpses of quality in the final third from Sunderland, but, like the traveling support, Morecambe had arrived to have a go.
On the positive side, we forced a few corners and delivered well from those, whereby McClean scored our opener. I would have expected a good spell following that, but the rest of the half was cagey or lacking the final touch. Fletcher headed the best chance wide.
It was the same in the second half, until McClean’s sidestep and finish for the second. Then our best spell arrived, searching for the third goal. It was the lad on a hat-trick who came closest, although Saha breathed life into proceedings.
He was quality, but Johnson never stopped with his tricks either. He added another dimension while, in fairness, Fletcher was like the game itself, a little quieter than expected.
Though it was job done, the later rounds should create more of a buzz and more excitement with Martin O’Neill at the helm.
To read the rest of the Echo Jury, please see tonight’s Sunderland Echo.