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Match Report: Sunderland 1-0 Kidderminster - Mavrias Settles Drab Affair

Charis Mavrias scored the winner as an uninspired Sunderland just about see off a spirited performance from non-league Kidderminster Harriers.

Mavrias is congratulated after scoring the winner.
Mavrias is congratulated after scoring the winner.
Michael Regan

Sunderland are though to the Fifth Round of the FA Cup after a 1-0 win against Kidderminster Harriers of The Skrill Premier after Charis Mavrias scored his first goal for Sunderland.

After the dramatic and tiring effort in midweek, when Sunderland progressed to the Capital One Cup Final after seeing off Manchester United on penalties, Gus Poyet made 10 changes from that side, with Lee Cattermole the only survivor. Oscar Ustari and Santiago Vergini made their debuts, El Hadji Ba made his full debut after coming on and scoring as a substitute in the last round, while Valentin Roberge, Modibo Diakite, Ondrej Celustka, Emanuele Giaccherini, Seb Larsson, Charis Mavrias and Jozy Altidore all started.

Sunderland started quickly, with the visitors looking nervous, and the home side could have gone ahead not long after kick off when Altidore tried to get a shot off from a Celustka's cross but he barely connected and it was cleared at the back post by a Kidderminster defender.

The home side then took the lead after only five minutes when Giaccherini flicked the ball on for Altidore inside the box but the American striker couldn't control the ball and Mavrias pounced on the loose ball and buried his shot just inside the goalkeeper's left hand post.

Kidderminster almost equalised a few minutes later, when Giaccherini's wayward pass eluded Cattermole and allowed Michael Gash to get in on goal, fortunately Ustari was quick off his line to smother the shot and got up quickly to recover the ball as it was trickling towards the line.

That was as good as the match got,  with the remaining 80 minutes mostly consisting of Sunderland in control and passing it around, Kidderminster defending resolutely and the Premier League side rarely looking like troubling Danny Lewis in the visitor's goal.

There were plenty of shots from Sunderland but, as usual, very few were on target. In fact, it was substitute Fabio Borini who came closest to adding to the lead, when his shot was heroically blocked by a Kidderminster defender after a quick break by Mavrias but that was in injury time, which illustrates how little we actually threatened Lewis.

Kidderminster had a couple of half chances to snatch a shock draw, first Danny Jackman fired a left-footed effort wide from just outside the box, then Frederick Lapado could only shoot wide after latching onto a knock down, missing the chance to make himself a hero for the visiting 4,000 fans on his debut.

It was very much a case of after the Lord Mayor's Show, with a lot of sloppy passes from the Sunderland team and some performances that would not have pleased Poyet, Altidore looked completely devoid of confidence and barely troubled the non-league defence, Giaccherini started brightly but quickly faded and Ondrej Celustka was very wasteful in possession. Cattermole disappeared straight down the tunnel after being substituted, he may have picked up a knock or just disappointed with his performance but it could be something to keep an eye on considering the Liam Bridcutt and Ever Banega rumours.

Although there won't be many high points for Poyet after such an uninspiring performance, Mavrias looked lively throughout and Ustari and Vergini both had solid debuts and like the Capital One Cup game against MK Dons earlier in the season, the performance, although disappointing, takes a back seat to the fact we are through to the next round.

The draw for the Fifth Round takes place tomorrow at approximately 5.35pm.