The first real chance of note in the game came with a lovely flowing move from Sunderland. Cattermole sent a great diagonal ball across to Giaccherini on the right wing. Gathering it well, the Italian ran at his fullback before flicking a back-heel to the onrushing Bardsley. The Mancunian Scot whipped a cross low into the six yard box where it was met by Nacho Scocco. A chance for the Argentinean to bag an important first Sunderland goal? Unfortunately not, as Scocco spooned the shot over the bar. The ball was coming in quick and he was under pressure from Hull's defenders, but he still probably should have done better.
Not long after Hull had their first real chance of note. Elmohamady whipped in a cross from deep on the right wing, and Fryatt's flicked header saw the ball go just wide of Oscar Ustari's far post. As the ball went out for the goal kick, Bardsley turned and made it perfectly clear to Santiago Vergini that he thought the centre-back should have been tracking the Hull striker.
As has tended to be the case in this fixture this season, the referee then came to centre stage. Early on he'd given a booking to Tom Huddlestone for a high boot on Cattermole, and waved away Elmohamady's protests when he felt Cattermole had fouled him down by Sunderland's left corner flag. Then Sunderland's midfield general came in late on David Meyler, it was certainly a foul but Hull's players immediately crowded referee Craig Pawson and the man in black caved and produced an extremely harsh yellow card for the ex-skipper.
Not long after was an even more controversial moment. A Hull corner bounced to the back of the box, and as Sony Aluko tried to turn and set himself up for a shot, his back leg was caught by Larsson sending the Nigerian striker sprawling. Pawson immediately stepped up to award the penalty. My initial reaction was that Aluko's standing leg had simply slipped as he tried to spin past Larsson, but after a few replies you can see that Larsson has flicked his leg out to bring the striker down. Having won the spot-kick, Aluko stepped up to take it. A big moment in goal for Ustari making just his third appearance for the lads. The kick was fairly weak and down to Ustari's right, but the keeper completely read it nonetheless and managed to palm it away before staying alive to smother the loose. ball. Great save, and a real shot in the arm for Sunderland.
From there, Sunderland looked to grow a bit more in confidence. Just before half-time we won a corner, and Larsson taking it attempted a training ground routine firing behind the scrum in the box to try and find Steven Fletcher, but the attempt was read and the chance cleared away before the Scotsman could channel his inner Ki Sung-Yueng and fire it into the corner.
The second half started with a spell of consistent Hull pressure, and stayed as scrappy as the first half with plenty of niggly little fouls especially in the centre of midfield. Nothing much happened until Hull arguably had a much better shout for a penalty than the one they were given in the first half. A long ball forwards towards Fryatt was gathered by Ustari, but not before John O'Shea had forced the striker down to the ground. Luckily for the Irishman though, the referee's vision was blocked and nothing was given. Another stupid booking followed, with Scocco shown a yellow card for an absolutely nothing coming together. This turned out to be the Argentine's last contribution, as he was taken off along with Giaccherini to be replaced by Adam Johnson and Fabio Borini.
With our big guns coming on, I was hoping this could be our chance to turn the game around. But it wasn't to be. Not long afterwards Elmohamady and O'Shea fought for the ball down on the Sunderland left, the Egyptian let the ball run out of play but somehow the linesman saw fit to award a foul against O'Shea. The freekick was swung in and Curtis Davies rose higher than the Sunderland captain to head the ball back across and into the corner of the net.
Sunderland attacked, looking to get back into the tie. Fletcher did well to win us a corner, but Hull cleared the set play up the pitch towards Cattermole. Caught in two minds about whether to head or bring down the bouncing ball, the Teesider did neither and David Meyler nipped in to steal away the ball and race away down the pitch. The Irishman had support, but instead opted to go it alone before finishing coolly into the bottom corner. 2-0 to Hull, and you couldn't help but feel that was that for the tie.
If there was any doubt that the game was over, it was wiped out just minutes later. Sunderland were playing the ball calmly along the back line with Fryatt languishing in an offside position behind our defence. Inexplicably Cattermole turned in possession and looked to play it back to Ustari. How he didn't notice that Fryatt was stood right between him and his goalkeeper I don't know. It was impossible not to see him, and the midfielder's attempted back pass went straight to the Hull player who made no mistake with the gift and duly slotted home. Self-destruction was now well and truly achieved.
Overall questions will definitely be asked of Gus Poyet for his decision to field what looked like a weakened side. The new look strike partnership of Steven Fletcher and Nacho Scocco never looked to have much of an understanding with one another, and without Ki in midfield we seemed to lack poise. However, Cattermole's two mistakes shouldn't (and doubtless won't) be forgotten. For their second goal he maybe but caught out by the bounce of the ball, but he still needed to do much much better. Then there is just nothing that can be said about the back pass for Fryatt's goal. He turned, looked up, passed to a Hull player loitering in front of goal, and then turned away only to spin back around as he suddenly realised what he'd done. Shocking, inexcusable play. One game he out players Yaya Toure at Wembley, in the next he gets himself two assists for Hull. Liam Bridcutt probably isn't unduly worried about who'll get the nod in midfield against Palace.
It was an extremely disappointing game, we played poorly, and our desire to actually do well in the FA Cup has to come into question. Now we just have to draw a line under it, and focus on catching up with the rest of the relegation pack in the Premier League.
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