Echo Jury: Our panel reflects on Sunderland’s FA Cup victory at Peterborough, and looks forward to Middlesbrough in the fourth round

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SUNDERLAND’S resurgence continued with a 2-0 win at Peterborough in the FA Cup third round and our panel of Black Cats fans have been givint their verdict.

RICHARD SMITH

Sunderland celebrate their Peterborough win

Sunderland celebrate their Peterborough win

A GOOD win. It wasn’t a classic by any means but Posh are a decent team and to go there and win, while keeping a clean sheet, shows how far we’ve come under Martin O’Neill.

We started slowly and as expected Peterborough came at us, but once we settled after 20-25 minutes we were comfortably the better team. O’Neill has set us up so solidly from back to front. We look good at the back and with Cattermole, who is like a new player, guarding the back four and breaking everything up, it gives Larsson, Gardner and McClean free reign to get up and support Sesssegnon.

Two excellent goals gave us the victory and both courtesy of Seb Larsson’s fantastic right boot – the first a brilliant free-kick whipped across goal and the second a great corner glanced in at the front post by the ever-dangerous McClean.

Aside from Larsson, I though Gardner and McClean were excellent going forward.

08/01/2012. FA Cup 3rd Round. Peterborough United v Sunderland AFC. James McClean celebrates scoring the 2nd goal with a header. Photo: Steve Bardens.

08/01/2012. FA Cup 3rd Round. Peterborough United v Sunderland AFC. James McClean celebrates scoring the 2nd goal with a header. Photo: Steve Bardens.

TOM USHER

ANOTHER impressive display and result. In truth, Peterborough didn’t cause us half as many problems I expected.

After a decent first 20 minutes for them, without really testing Mignolet, we took control without having to get out of second gear. However, it wasn’t until the second half that we really imposed ourselves on the game enough to look dangerous but when we did the gulf in class really showed. The selection of the team was a bit of a surprise not having a recognised striker leading the line and Sess seemed to struggle a little as a result, but with wingers like McClean and Seb in the team, who needs strikers?

In seriousness, though, both wingers were excellent and so was Cattermole, again. It was also good to see Wickham back on the bench. We nearly have everyone back fit so maybe only one or two new faces will be needed this month.

Middlesbrough at home is a decent draw and interesting tie. By virtue of it being something of a derby, it should provide us with a sterner test ... before we beat them and continue our march on to Wembley.

MICHAEL GLANCY

THAT was a very professional cup performance, comfortably dispatching a lower league side. It’s a long time since that happened.

We may not have obliterated them, but our performance was incredibly professional, and they were limited to very few chances, if any.

McClean had yet another good game and strangely, I think he’ll play better against the better premier league teams with the more forward thinking full-backs, who will leave space in behind.

Larsson didn’t have the best of games in open play, but more than made up for it with two brilliant set-pieces. He will take a well-deserved rest in the six-day gap before the Chelsea game.

Hopefully, the prospect of some fresh faces will have increased by the time we play Chelsea as our squad is very thin at the moment. Ideally, we will be looking at signing a striker or two.

We have a good chance of going quite far in this competition, with some of the big teams having to play each other, while we have a very winnable tie against Boro. The new era is gathering pace rapidly.

KIERAN KIRBY

A VERY comfortable afternoon. We were so well organised.

When I saw the team sheet I had flashbacks of the Brighton game with no recognised strikers on the pitch. However, we are a different proposition now under the guidance of Martin O’Neill.

Peterborough had plenty of possession in the first half but didn’t really threaten. We had chances through Larsson and a Gardner header and the highly impressive McClean smashed one off the bar. Thanks Mr Bruce, you’ve got us an absolute bargain.

We were better in the second half and started knocking the ball about well. Cattermole ran the midfield. We’re now seeing the player we saw when he first arrived – strong, solid and good passing. I’ll let him off with his customary booking!

Once the first goal went in, the game was effectively over as Peterbrough didn’t look like scoring.

Round 4 and Middlebrough await. A great draw. There should be a good atmosphere at the SoL for that one.

MICHAEL TUCKWELL

A COMFORTABLE 2-0 win will do nicely. Although O’Neill didn’t start with a striker, once again a good contribution from the midfield did enough to see off this potential banana skin.

Credit to the goalscorers Larsson and McLean, who seem to be real assets to our squad. I wouldn’t put it past us to go a lot further in this competition especially if we continue to control and take chances like we did.

Posh were, well, lower division class. It was good to see us control the game and capitalise on so many bad passes and mistakes.

The reward is a local scuffle against Boro which will suit us down to the ground. A home derby will really bring in support and I hope to see a full house to really show that despite the cup losing some of its reputation over the years, that we can still fill a stadium even against lower teams like Boro. STUART HALL

ANOTHER great away victory in what could have been an FA Cup upset. Reward is a local home derby against Middlesbrough ... it should be a great game. I was surprised by the team O’Neill chose – after playing 90 minutes for the reserves, I thought Craig Gordon may have been given a go, as well as young Louis Laing. However, O’Neill knows best and clearly the team are playing with some belief – even without any strikers as Bardsley came in for Bendtner.

Peterborough will have felt hard done to not to go in at half-time with a lead. We struggled to move the ball about and Sessegnon looked isolated on his own up front. It must be a priority to bring a striker in before January 31.

Larsson fired in a free-kick early in the second half to put us in the lead, then the impressive James McClean made it two, with a good header. The emergence of McClean under O’Neill just shows what a fool Steve Bruce was for not picking him.

* Read the Echo Jury’s views in the Sunderland Echo before and after every game