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Sunderland AFC v burnley (h) F.A. CUP THIRD ROUND REPLAY...

I’m finding it hard to muster much enthusiasm about this game but of course I still want us to win. It seems very likely that Moyes will at last start a number of the squad players and I think Asoro, Maja and Honeyman will try their best to make a mark if selected. We can’t risk further injuries especially with another match in four days’ time. I thought Maja was great when he came on against QPR in the League Cup. If we get through, then we’ve got a very good chance of getting through the next round’s home tie too and maybe then we’ll get the Mags or a top five club in the 5th Round… I’m pleased that there’s some hope of incoming players in the transfer window, especially if it’s McCarthy and Jagielka, but I’ll believe it when I see it. I’ve got to work this evening and am going to miss a good deal if not all of the first-half and I doubt if there’ll be any online streams of the game so I’m going to be pretty out of touch. Given the good hiding we got on New Year’s Eve and Burnley’s very good home form, I can’t see us winning and so my match prediction is 1-2.

I managed to get away from work earlier than expected and got online pronto. We were starting 3-5-2 and I was surprised to see us fielding a strong (well, you know what I mean) side with only Honeyman stepping up while Defoe and O’Shea were on the bench. Maja was nowhere to be seen but Asoro was on the bench too. Barton was playing for them, which was bound to be interesting. I don’t know what’s wrong with SAFSEE these days but it takes ages to get connected to it. Burnley had the better of the opening stages and had three decent efforts in the opening ten minutes and then Vito had to make a couple of good saves to keep out Boyd and Barton. We were under the cosh for a while but came through it and after the midway point we started to muster a few attacks of our own with a deflected Januzaj effort and then Borini just failing to reach a Seb free-kick. We won our first corner after thirty-seven minutes thanks to Honeyman’s efforts but PVA’s ensuing shot was blocked. I had the feeling it was going to go to penalties. As half-time approached we survived a flurry of corners but in the final minute Vokes eluded Denayer and headed Burnley into the lead from a cross. My Liverpool-supporting mate told me the other day he thought Denayer was the worst Premier League player he’d ever seen so he’ll have been happy at any rate. After coming back into things it was a terrible time for us to concede.

Four minutes after the restart Seb had a good goal-attempt when he tried to lob Pope in goal but it went narrowly over. Next thing Fab was on the deck for a while after being hit by the ball but he managed to recover. Elsewhere Bristol City were 1-0 up against Fleetwood so if we managed to turn our game around, we’d likely be playing them. I couldn’t see us winning as we were taking a pummelling from the Burnley attack but Defoe was still on the bench. We had a penalty shout when Januzaj went down but ref Mike Jones wasn’t having it. The hour-mark passed and things were looking grim but then we brought Defoe on and hope fluttered its wings, a bit. Love was the man replaced. I’ll be glad that we won’t be playing Burnley for a good while as apart from the fact that they keep getting the better of us, that guy Defour’s name keeps confusing me in commentaries. Anyway, back to the game. We nearly got caught out on the halfway line but managed to escape and then time seemed to race away and there were only fifteen minutes to go. It was time for another sub and I hoped it would be Asoro. My hope was fulfilled when Asoro duly replaced Fab, who hadn’t done much at all. With eight minutes left Burnley put the tie beyond doubt when Gray got in behind our defence and beat Mannone. It was all too much for the SAFSEE connection which promptly died and I had to rely on tweets and Five Live for the closing stages. Barton was booked in stoppage-time and Seb forced a good save out of Pope but it ended 0-2 and that was my cup fever over for another season.

See you at West Brom on Saturday

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