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 Tuesday, 3 December, 2002, 21:42 GMT
Sunderland slump to Blades
Sheffield United's Wayne Allison (left) celebrates scoring
Allison's goal sealed victory for Sheffield United
Sheffield United 2-0 Sunderland

Premiership strugglers Sunderland crashed out of the Worthington Cup at the hands of First Division Sheffield United.

Goals early in the second half from Shaun Murphy and Wayne Allison heaped more misery on Howard Wilkinson's toothless Black Cats.

The Blades never looked like letting their top-flight opponents back into the tie as Neil Warnock's men booked a place in the quarter-finals for the first time since 1972.

Sunderland could hardly complain after making nine changes to the side which lost 3-0 to Chelsea on Saturday.

Key incidents
53 mins: Murphy puts the Blades ahead
56 mins: Allison adds a second for United

Only goalkeeper Jurgen Macho and midfielder Gavin McCann survived the cull for the Worthington Cup fourth round tie.

Sunderland are now without a goal in their last six-and-half hours of match action. The initial chance of the game in the 11th minute proved to be United's best of a closely-fought first half.

Michael Tonge whipped in a free-kick behind a sleepy Sunderland defence, and in springing the offside trap, Murphy was presented with a gift opening.

But his attempted stab from inside the six-yard box, as Macho came to collect, frustratingly finished a yard wide.

After that hair-raising moment, Macho was never fully extended in those first 45 minutes, although he was called upon on several occasions to make comfortable saves in denying Carl Asaba, Tonge and Michael Brown.

In truth, it was Sunderland who wasted the more clear-cut opportunities with Michael Proctor dragging an angled 12-yard shot wide.

Shaun Murphy of Sheffield United celebrates scoring the first goal
Goalscorer Murphy is mobbed by his team-mates

With Sunderland always looking sharp on the counter-attack, David Bellion surged his way to the dead-ball line.

He cut back a cross for Marcus Stewart, who unleashed a half-volley which United skipper Robert Page superbly blocked.

Moments later Kevin Kyle was then put clean through, but despite only Paddy Kenny to beat from 12 yards, he instead chose to play a poor ball into Stewart, allowing United to clear the danger.

Such profligacy proved crucial for United as eight minutes after the restart they took the lead courtesy of a scrambled effort from Murphy.

Phil Jagielka's deep right-wing cross had Macho backtracking, forcing Stanislav Varga into a panicky, overhead clearance under pressure from Wayne Allison.

The ball smacked against the underside of the bar, and from a yard out Murphy was then on hand to knock home in front of The Kop.

United then clinched their place in the fifth round in the 56th minute.

A quick Stuart McCall free-kick was knocked out to Peter Ndlovu, who curled in a delightful cross for Allison to head home his sixth goal of the season.

Sunderland are now without a goal in their last six-and-half hours of match action.


Sheff Utd: Kenny, Jagielka, Murphy, Page, Harley, Ndlovu (Kozluk 90), Brown, McCall, Tonge, Asaba (Peschisolido 84), Allison.
Subs Not Used: Montgomery, Ten Heuvel, McGovern.

Booked: Ndlovu.

Sunderland: Macho, Rossiter, Thome, Varga, McCartney, Proctor, Williams, McCann, Bellion, Kyle (Schwarz 65), Stewart.
Subs Not Used: Clark, Medina, Dickman, Turns.

Booked: McCartney.

Attendance: 27,068

Referee: A Wiley (Staffordshire).

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
 BBC Five Live's Ian Dennis
"On this form Sheffield United would test most sides"
 Sheffield United boss Neil Warnock
"We looked a quality side"
 Sheffield United's Wayne Allison
"It just gets better"

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