SUNDERLAND have been showing signs of good form lately, with an impressive comeback against Southampton to earn a 2-2 draw, the superb 4-1 away win against Fulham (and, of course, that amazing win last night).
The Black Cats will be hoping to carry this form through to their clash against Kidderminster in the FA Cup Fourth Round.
They will have to guard against complacency, however, with FA Cup history being full of surprises and upsets, a few of which have involved Sunderland themselves.
The north-east side have had previous success in the cup, winning it twice and have been involved in some tumultuous ties.
But which are the best classic FA Cup matches from Sunderland’s past?
5. 4th Round Replay – 2003
Sunderland clinched their place in the fifth round with a hard fought win over Blackburn Rovers in 2003.
The first match ended in a 3-3 draw after a dramatic last minute equaliser from Dwight Yorke saved the Rovers and earned them a replay.
Kevin Phillips scored after just ten minutes to put the Black Cats ahead, but Garry Flitcroft equalised on the 50th minute.
Sunderland thought it was in the bag when Gavin McCann scored in the 79th minute, however, Flitcroft scored a last minute leveller.
The game went to penalties and Sunderland secured a win, taking all three points.
4. Third Round – 1949
Sunderland actually lost this tie, but it is included purely because of the nature of the win for their opponents.
Yeovil Town were a non-league side who were enjoying a rather emphatic progression in the latter rounds of the FA Cup, having beaten Bury, who were top of Division Two, to set up a clash against the Black Cats.
Yeovil took the lead after 28 minutes and held on until 15 minutes into second half when Sunderland grabbed an equaliser.
Post-war fuel restrictions meant the game went to extra-time and through the dense fog Yeovil scored what would have been the winner.
Three minutes from time, however, the referee blew his whistle for a free-kick. The home side thought it was the full-time whistle and the ensuing pitch invasion meant the game needed to be replayed.
Yeovil hung on and this game is notable due to it being one of the few times that a non-league side won against a top league side.
3. Semi-Final – 1973
55,000 people at Hillsborough witnessed a big upset by Sunderland as they faced off against football behemoths Arsenal.
The Gunners sat second in Division One and had won their previous two semi-finals, so were confident of cruising into their third FA Cup final.
But the north-east side had other ideas and they went 1-0 up when Arsenal defender Geoff Blockley got in a mix up with goalkeeper Bob Wilson, allowing Vic Halom to prod the ball into an empty net.
A long throw met the head of Dennis Tueart and he flicked the ball on to Billy Hughes who produced a looping header which the Arsenal goalkeeper couldn’t keep out his net, making it 2-0.
The Gunners pulled one back, but Sunderland hung on to reach their third FA Cup final.
2. Quarter Final Replay – 1992
Possibly one of the most famous victories at Roker Park, Sunderland were up against it as they faced off against Chelsea.
The Black Cats were struggling in the Second Division under caretaker manager Malcolm Crosby, but had somehow earned a draw away at Chelsea.
Peter Davenport put the home side ahead after 20 minutes and Sunderland then withstood tremendous pressure from the London side.
Dennis Wise scored a heartbreaking equaliser with six minutes left on the clock.
It looked as if the game would go to extra time until, out of nowhere, Gordon Armstrong leapt up from a corner to score a brilliant header and one of the trademark goals which gives the FA Cup its magic, setting up a clash against Liverpool in the final.
1. Final – 1973
This clash is considered as one of the biggest upsets in FA Cup history and when Sunderland went up against English football titans Leeds United, no one thought it would end the way it did.
Facing off against the previous year’s winners and heavy favourites, Sunderland tackled fiercely and showed real grit to throw Leeds off of their usually composed tactics.
Ian Porterfield gave the Black Cats the lead on the 31st minute with a shot from 12 yards out.
The Second Division side withstood tremendous pressure for the rest of the game and ‘keeper Jimmy Montgomery produced a fantastic performance in goal, including an emphatic save mid-way through the second half.
Sunderland held on to cause a massive upset and became only the second side from the Second Division to lift the cup after West Bromwich Albion.