Sunderland fan blog: Phil Parkinson and the players will be relieved fans weren't allowed in for Mansfield defeat

The magic of the FA Cup returned on Saturday but it ended with Sunderland losing 1-0 to League Two opposition Mansfield Town.
Sunderland boss Phil Parkinson.Sunderland boss Phil Parkinson.
Sunderland boss Phil Parkinson.

Never in the competition's 149 year history has it ever witnessed a first round FA Cup weekend look the way it did.

Just like all league matches, the first round ties had to be played behind-closed-doors with fans having to watch the games via digital platforms.

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Also, due to England's new COVID-19 lockdown, non-elite teams had to have special exemptions from the Government in order to play their cup ties against elite opposition.

Meanwhile, Sunderland will be glad that there were no fans inside of the Stadium of Light to watch on as they were beaten by a side that hadn't won a game in all competitions all season.

A first round exit for a second successive season means that the Black Cats' dreams of reaching the third round with the Premier League and Championship teams are now over.

In the game itself, Mansfield looked like the League One side for the most part, with the closest the Black Cats coming to a goal via a header from Danny Graham off the bar within the opening 10 minutes.

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After that, they took their foot off the gas and allowed the Stags to implement themselves on a cup tie, were anything could happen.

It seemed like the home side took for granted their higher-tier status than their opponents but the FA Cup can provide shocks that league games wouldn't and that was in full force on Saturday.

The header from George Lapslie provided the away side something to hang on to and for Sunderland, the tension between the fans and the manager is becoming more and more tangible by the match, so Tuesday's Papa John's Trophy tie against Fleetwood is even more significant.

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