FA Cup Fourth Round: Sunderland 1-0 Kidderminster

Saturday 25 Jan 2014
Sunderland players congratulate Charis Mavrias

An early Charis Mavrias strike ensured Sunderland culminated a memorable week with a comfortable 1-0 victory over non-league Kidderminster Harriers to continue their cup crusade.

Mavrias struck the decisive blow with a right-foot strike after just five minutes to ensure the Black Cats avoided a giantkilling against Conference opposition.

Gus Poyet made ten changes to the side that edged out Manchester United on penalties to reach the League

Sunderland 1-0 Kidderminster

By Jamie Shaw
FA Cup with Budweiser
Fourth Round Proper
Stadium of Light
Winners receive £90,000 from The FA prize fund


Cup final on Wednesday night, and his revamped side repaid the faith by maintaining the feel-good factor on Wearside.

Kidderminster, the lowest-ranked side still standing in the competition, had hopes of equalling their run to the Fifth Round 20 years ago, but did little to dampen the spirits of a Sunderland side riding the crest of wave on a wet and windy afternoon on Wearside. 

Sunderland enjoyed the lion’s share of the possession early on and made their pressure count as they broke Harriers’ resistance after just five minutes, with Greece international Mavrias marking only his fifth first-team appearance with a goal, curling a low shot from inside the penalty area into the bottom corner.

Kidderminster, though, responded swiftly and almost found themselves back on level terms minutes later, when a misplaced pass from Emanuele Giaccherini fell to Michael Gash insde the area, with the lone striker forcing a fine stop from debutant goalkeeper Oscar Ustari.

Giaccherini was handed a golden opportunity to double the host’s lead on 26 minutes, but fired his shot wide of the near post after a fine link-up with Mavrias inside the penalty area.

Lee Cattermole was the only survivor from the starting line-up in Wednesday’s dramatic League Cup semi-final at Old Trafford, and the skipper led by example as he orchestrated Sunderland’s free-flowing football which resulted in them enjoying 76 per cent of the first half possession.

Santiago Vergini forced a save from experienced stopper Danny Lewis on the hour mark, with the Argentinian centre back demonstrating his attacking desire after joining from Estudiantes earlier in the week.

The introduction of Fabio Borini, Craig Gardner and Jack Colback in quick succession injected fresh impetus for the hosts as they stepped up their pursuit of a killer second goal. 

Vergini saw his looping header directed narrowly wide, before Ondrej Celustka headed over from an inviting Seb Larsson free kick.

Kidderminster, roared on by a 4,000-strong travelling contingent, defended resolutely and almost grabbed a last-gasp equaliser as substitue Federick Ladapo latched onto a loose ball before flashing his shot wide of the far post, signalling the end of their gallant run.

Sunderland:  Ustari, Celustka, Roberge, Diakite, Vergini, Cattermole (Colback: 72), Ba (Gardner: 66), Larsson, Mavrias, Giaccherini (Borini: 66), Altidore     

Substitutes not used: Ki, O'Shea, Watmore, Pickford

Goal: Mavrias 5

Kidderminster Harriers: Lewis, Vaughan, Demetriou, Storer, Bryne, Gash, Johnson (Gittings, 68), Jackman, Morgan-Smith (Ladapo, 68), Dyer (Aloi, 83), Gowling  

Substitutes not used: Vaughan, Dunkley, Malbon, Angus.

Referee: Roger East

Attendance: 25,081

By FA Staff Stadium of Light