SUNDERLAND were last night dismally dumped out of the FA Cup by Championship side Bolton Wanderers.
It said everything about the manner of this woeful 2-0 defeat that the boos at full-time from the few thousand fans who had stayed until the end inside the Stadium of Light were half-hearted.
Much like the team, even the fans had given up by the final whistle.
A Marvin Sordell second-half double, the first from a soft penalty, did the damage and, while Sunderland had far more possession than Bolton and several chances, especially in the first half, overall they were poor.
Sunderland manager Martin O’Neill had spoken beforehand about the importance for the club of a good FA Cup run, but these were words his players did not heed.
Too many lacked the passion required for a Premier League team to tackle this kind of cup tie.
A Championship side, Middlesbrough, ended Sunderland’s Capital One Cup campaign at home and once again they failed to beat lower league opposition on Wearside.
The only thing that can save this season for the Black Cats is an unlikely surge up the Premier League.
New loan signing Kader Mangane, who did not play, spoke of his delight at signing, although that was before last night’s defeat.
At least O’Neill has a few new faces to introduce to his team, although in truth he needs a lot more.
Speaking on the club’s website, Mangane said: “I’m happy to sign for Sunderland because I want to play in England and Sunderland have given me the chance to.”
The facilities are amazing and I’m looking forward to getting started
“I’ve had a look around and met with some of the players - Stephane Sessegnon and Craig Gardner.
“It’s all very exciting. I’ll give 100% for the team and show the fans how passionate I am about playing for the club.”
QPR put their relegation worries to one side as Jay Bothroyd’s second-half goal earned them victory over West Brom in an FA Cup third-round replay at the Hawthorns.
Bothroyd, back from a loan spell at Sheffield Wednesday, settled the tie when he headed home a corner from Alejandro Faurlin.
But he was denied the chance of a reunion with the Owls as they were beaten last night by MK Dons, who will now visit Loftus Road in the fourth round.
It was another encouraging result for Harry Redknapp’s side after collecting four points from their previous two Barclays Premier League with Chelsea and Tottenham.
They also celebrated their first win against Premier League opposition in the competition for 18 years.
Bothroyd was a constant threat but Rangers were indebted to several fine saves from goalkeeper Robert Green for securing their place in the last 32.
West Brom’s slump in fortunes continued and they have now won only two of their last 11 matches in all competitions and their season is in danger of fizzling out.
Bothroyd got plenty of power into his downward header from Faurlin’s corner and Myhill could only help the ball into the corner of the net.
Albion tried to rescue the tie and Robert Green again excelled in twice beating out powerful shots from the previously ineffective Markus Rosenberg.