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Archived News from August 2003

REPORTS FROM NATIONAL PAPERS, + SUNDERLAND SITES
14th August 2003 10:57


Report from Daily Telegraph
Kyle strike spares McCarthy blushes
By Ron Gubba
Sunderland overcame a formidable challenge from Third Division Mansfield to move through to the second round of the Carling Cup in a pulsating contest at Field Mill last night. The result was a massive relief for manager Mick McCarthy as it was the first time Sunderland had avoided defeat since he became manager in March.
As McCarthy searched for a winning formula, only Mart Poom, Phil Babb and Kevin Kilbane were retained from the team which lost 2-0 at Nottingham Forest on Saturday. Among eight changes, Michael Gray and Tore Andre Flo were recalled to the starting line-up, as were Jeff Whitley and Sean Thornton, both dropped on Saturday after sleeping in and missing the pre-match workout.
What Sunderland badly needed was an early goal and they should have had one after 17 seconds, when Kilbane and Marcus Stewart engineered a straightforward opening for Matthew Piper, who shot tamely wide. Stewart was a fraction off target after being set up by Flo.
Unsurprisingly, Mansfield sensed the opportunity of causing an upset and Wayne Corden almost gave them the lead with a ferocious 25-yard free-kick which Poom turned away at full stretch.
If Sunderland were looking for a rub of the green, they got it in the 17th minute when Thornton's left-wing corner flicked off the back of Dave Artell's head and crept inside the far post.
There were times when it seemed that all that stood between Mansfield and an equaliser was Poom, and the big Estonian made another outstanding save to deny Luke Dimech.
If Mansfield could have allied a little more guile to their relentless endeavour they would have been in business. However, they continued to pound away at the Sunderland defence and Poom was again at the stretch to keep out a low drive from Lee Williamson.
Kilbane launched a rare one-man approach on the home goal but, having cut a swathe through the Mansfield defence, shot wide. A splendid right-wing run and cross by Matthew Piper then set up a chance for Stewart, whose header rebounded off the post and dropped onto the goal-line to be scooped up by Kevin Pilkington.
With one minute remaining the unfortunate substitute Kevin Kyle put through his own goal for the Mansfield equaliser. However, their blushes were spared in the second minute of injury time when Piper crossed from the right for Kyle to slam home the winner.
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The Guardian:
Sunderland finally give McCarthy taste of success

Louise Taylor at Field Mill
Thursday August 14, 2003
The Guardian

It was 11th time lucky for Mick McCarthy last night but his first victory after presiding over 10 straight defeats since succeeding Howard Wilkinson as Sunderland manager proved no cakewalk.
Indeed an 89th-minute own- goal from Kevin Kyle appeared to have earned Keith Curle's pacey Third Division side extra-time only for Kyle to redeem himself deep in stoppage time by connecting with Matt Piper's cross and directing a low shot through a crowded penalty area and on beyond Kevin Pilkington's reach.
In the first half Sean Thornton delivered the near-post corner from which Dave Artell headed the ball into his own net. It was only the third goal Sunderland had scored under McCarthy and it arrived as they looked ruffled by the pace of Junior Mendes and Iysedsen Christie.
McCarthy's tension was borne out by the industrial language aimed at his players. Much of it appeared intended for Phil Babb, whose slapdash clearance almost presented Mendes with a goal. Only exceptional second- half saves from Mart Poom kept out Bobby Hassell and Lee Williamson.
Then Kyle registered that own-goal. Liam Lawrence's cross bounced unfortunately off the substitute and the ball appeared to have crossed the line by the time Andy White arrived to rubber stamp the equaliser.
Kyle, though, was destined to enjoy the last word.
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CHAD REPORT:
KYLE LATE SHOW BREAKS STAGS HEARTS

KEVIN Kyle broke Mansfield hearts with a 94th minute winner for under-pressure First Division giants Sunderland in an electric finish to a cracking Carling Cup first round tie at Field Mill tonight.

Kyle's late strike secured the Black Cats a 2-1 win and Mick McCarthy's first win as Sunderland manger at the 11th attempt in front of the live Sky TV cameras.
But Mansfield deserve much credit for their contribution to the game and had fought so hard to get their deserved 88th minute equaliser.
Stags central defender Dave Artell again played very well. But unfortunately he beat his own keeper on 18 minutes with a glancing near post header from Sean Thornton's corner.
That separated the teams at the break though Stags had much the better of a frantic first half.
Sunderland, with 16 League defeats on the trot behind them, made eight changes from the team that lost 2-0 at Forest on Saturday and came out all guns blazing.
Matty Piper, on loan at Mansfield from Leicester 18 months ago, showed how much he has blossomed with an electric display on the right wing. And he might have scored after just 17 seconds when the home defence failed to deal with Marcus Stewart's low cross.
The Mansfield goal again had a narrow escape on 10 minutes when Stewart pulled his finish just wide as well.
But Mansfield grew in stature and giant keeper Mart Poom saved well from a Wayne Corden free kick and a shot from Luke Dimech through a crowded box.
Their best chance came just before the break when Stags cleared a Sunderland corner and Junior Mendes – in for the rested Colin Larkin – sped clear from the halfway line.
But sadly his legs ran had turned to lead by the time he got into the box and he finished tamely at Poom.
The second half was more even with Sunderland enjoying their best spell of the game midway though and Stewart could not believe his eyes on 72 minutes as his glancing header from yet another Piper cross hit the inside of the post and rolled along the line back into a relieved Pilkington's arms.
Piper drilled another couple of dangerous crosses in front of goal with no one there to finish.
For Stags Bobby Hassell fired a free kick into the box from 10 yards into the Sunderland half and Poom must have seen it late as he turned it round the post.
Indeed, after a solid first half, the big former Derby keeper had a shaky second, spilling a couple of crosses.
Jamie Clarke almost netted against the club he has supported since being a boy but mis-hit his far post volley.
Lee Williamson also had a good low shot deflect just wide after good work from Iyseden Christie and Mendes.
Sunderland also survived one or two big scramble before Stags grabbed a well-deserved equaliser on 88.
The ball bounced around the box after coming in from the right and Sunderland substitute Kyle appeared to divert the ball past his own keeper, though Andy White, following up, also tried to claim the goal.
Extra time looked certain as the home fans celebrated. But there was a cruel twist of fate four minutes into stoppage time.
Piper managed to get past Dimech on the by-line and then pulled the ball into Kyle's path to drill home a superb low shot inside Pilkington's left hand post – Sunderland's first and only shot on target all night!
Nevertheless, Stags had proved more than a match and the corner count of 17-7 in their favour added to the chances they made and two penalty appeals for handball turned down shows the contribution they made to a fine game for the 5,665 crowd and the millions who watched it live at home.
And both sides will take much confidence from their showings as they both go in search of their first League wins of the season on Saturday.
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CURLE RUES CUP MISFORTUNE
Evening Post website
Mansfield 1 v 2 Sunderland
Only lady luck stopped Mansfield claiming a famous Cup scalp, according to Stags manager Keith Curle.
His Third Division side nearly pushed a team playing Premiership football just a few weeks ago into extra time, after a determined display at Field Mill.
But Sunderland, without an away win since last November, netted a stoppage team winner to break Curle's heart.
Curle said: "The difference between the two sides was a bit of luck for Sunderland from set pieces.
"I know my team is capable of playing at the tempo we showed against Sunderland this season.
"We won't come up against a team with the class of Sunderland in our division for the rest of the year and we need to take confidence from this game."
Curle believed his side even shaded the Carling Cup first round encounter.
He added: "My players gave absolutely everything - they were brilliant. I thought Sunderland shaded the opening half but my players had belief and did well throughout.
"I thought we shaded the game but fair play to Sunderland they are a good team and have quality all over their side."
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Report from The (Sunderland) Journal
Mansfield 1, Sunderland 2

Aug 14 2003

By Luke Edwards, The Journal

Kevin Kyle smashed home an injury-time winner, just seconds after scoring an own goal, to give Mick McCarthy a hugely dramatic first win as Sunderland manager at the 11th attempt.
The Scottish international saved Sunderland from the trials of Carling Cup extra-time and penalties when he pounced on Matty Piper's dangerous low cross just two minutes after he and Mansfield substitute Andy White had bundled in at the other end to give the Stags a lifeline.
It was an uncomfortable end to an uncomfortable night for McCarthy's men who, at times, looked every bit a side which had plummeted out of the Premiership, losing their final 15 games.
Marcus Stewart, Kevin Kilbane and Piper could all have made things easier for the Black Cats, but Mansfield dominated for large spells with Mart Poom making several quality saves as they forced their more illustrious opponents to adopt basic survival tactics defending the longer the game wore on.
But, while it was never pretty the win could just prove to be the moment when Sunderland finally turn the corner into recovery street, although they must be mindful of the fact the League Cup has proven to be the provider of false dawns in the past.
It is just under a year since Peter Reid appeared to have fought off the sack with a nerve jangling Premiership victory and a confidence building League Cup thumping.
Having scraped to a nervous 1-0 win over Aston Villa at the Stadium of Light the previous weekend, Sunderland travelled to Cambridge United in the then Worthington Cup to tear the shell-shocked Third Division club apart with a 7-0 win.
Desperate for confidence the Black Cats had not eased up on their lower division opposition and Reid asserted the seeds of recovery had started to germinate.
Less than seven days later he was gone, the axe rather surprisingly falling after a 3-0 defeat at the home of the then all- conquering Arsenal. It has been downhill ever since, with Reid starting a mess which neither Howard Wilkinson nor Mick McCarthy - so far - have failed to convincingly clear up, with last night's win being the first since they beat Blackburn Rovers on penalties in the FA Cup on February 4.
And, despite having shipped out Gavin McCann, Bernt Haas, Thomas Sørensen and Jody Craddock, while Kevin Phillips mulls over a move to Southampton and Claudio Reyna talks with Fulham, this essentially remains the same set of players Reid had at his disposal to maul Cambridge.
From last night's starting line-up, of which there were eight changes to the side which lost to Nottingham Forest on Saturday, only Jeff Whitley and goalkeeper Poom were not at the club at the time of the Cambridge win. However, the inclusion of Ben Clark at the heart of the back four was at least a suggestion that the Black Cats are now looking firmly to the future rather than their troubled past and the England youth international did well despite a few shaky moments.
A win, of course, was the most pressing thing on McCarthy's mind and his side should have taken the lead after just 17 seconds, when Kilbane's through ball sent Marcus Stewart in between the Stags' centre-backs.
The former Ipswich man could have had a shot himself, but instead squared for Piper. The winger, who played eight games for Mansfield when a Leicester City player, should have at least have hit the target, but drilled his shot into the advertising hoardings. A chance so soon in the game suggested Sunderland might well come close to matching the seven they scored against Cambridge, but Mansfield proved a far stiffer test.
Well motivated by former England international Keith Curle, they did not give McCarthy's side any time to dwell on the ball.
Nevertheless, it was Stewart who had the next opportunity to open the scoring, the striker being a little unfortunate to see his snap shot shave the outside of the upright.
Minutes later fortune favoured the Black Cats when David Artell headed into his own net from Sean Thornton's corner, but the slice of luck came in the middle of sustained Mansfield pressure.
Wayne Corden thought his 25-yard free-kick was destined for the top corner, but Poom somehow managed to turn it around the post for a corner from which Luke Dimech blasted wide.
Poom again saved his side minutes after Artell's own goal blunder when he denied Dimech at close range, although he could have done nothing to stop Junior Mendes from restoring parity had the striker not spooned his effort over the bar from Iyseden Christie's pullback.
The weight of possession remained with Mansfield after the break and with the burden of their long losing streak weighing heavy on their shoulders the Wearsiders resorted to little more than survival tactics as Mendes again went close.
It was only when Piper began to see more of the ball on the right that things started to happen for Sunderland offensively. His pace and ambition constantly caused the Stags defence problems and twice his excellent low crosses went begging as they flashed across the face of goal.
Following the example, Kilbane embarked on a dangerous run of his own, beating three defenders to get in on goal only to blast wide with just the keeper to beat.
Minutes later Stewart thought he had doubled the lead when his header clipped the inside of the post and appeared to cross the line, but the referee gave Mansfield the benefit of the doubt.
It was clemency Sunderland could have done without as White clashed with Kevin Kyle to bundle in an equaliser with less than three minutes left. But then Kyle made his late and decisive contribution.
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report from redandwhitebarmy.com
Mansfield 1 SAFC 2
By Ben Gardner

Supposedly a full-strength team compared with Saturday, with Flo and Gray starting. But two shots at goal in 95 minutes only shows how far we've got to go before any confidence at all can return. And before any more season tickets will be sold!

Kevin Kyle, on for the useless over-paid ex-international Tore Andre Flop, managed to score TWO goals in tonights game, but only one was in the right net.
The morning papers will, no doubt, have him as the cliched hero-and-villain, but there's no escaping from the fact that we were abysmal ... and this was supposed to be a full-strength team.
Our record buy started up front alongside an ever-more desperate-looking Marcus Stewart. Babb was in attendance again, and Gray managed to get a game.
These four guys salaries ALONE would be able to cover ALL of the staff that were made redundant at Black Cats House in the summer
We had to quell some fearsome pressure from The Stags before taking the elad on 18 when Dave Artell managed to head into his own net. Hilariously, Flo was trying to claim the goal as his!
Marcus Stewart was so unlucky not to score himself when his delicate glancing header hit the inside of the far post - but we had to wait until the second half for that ... our FIRST shot on target.
Third Division Mansfield continuously piled on the pressure, and humbled our squad of millionaires. They snatched a late equaliser with a minute to go when Kyle knocked the ball past Poom during a goalmouth melee.
Limited comfort for Kyle was that Mansfield would've scored anyway, as two of the home side were lurking behind him.
Not that this game deserved a grandstand finish, but Matty Piper worked wonders in the last minute and produced a winner, courtesy of his tireless efforts on the right wing.
The ex-Leicester man turned Luke Dimech on the by-line and crossed the ball low and into the path of Kyle. The big Scotsman got the winner with a crisp low finish underneath the 'keeper.
Mansfield Town deserved to take this game into the next round.
If Mick McCarthy and Bob Murray seriously think we can get back into the Premiership on performances like this, they've got another thing coming!
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Report from safc.com:
By Nick Alexander
Mick McCarthy breathed a huge sigh of relief after finally picking up his first win as Sunderland manager.
The Black Cats scraped through this tricky Carling Cup tie but they were made to work all the way by a plucky Mansfield side.
It looked as though Dave Artell's first-half own-goal would be enough to steer McCarthy's men into round two - until substitute Kevin Kyle steered the ball into his own net with three minutes to go.
But Kyle redeemed himself in the 93rd minute when he blasted Matty Piper's cross past Kevin Pilkington.
It was the Black Cats' first win since January 14, ending a 16-game losing streak which stretched back to before McCarthy took over from Howard Wilkinson as boss.
The ex-Ireland manager had watched his Sunderland lose 10 successive games and his nerves must have been frayed at the end of this one.
Town made it a tough night for Sunderland as they forced corner after corner in search of the equaliser but this time lady luck was on their side.
The fact that Mart Poom was the Black Cats' best player told its own story. The Estonian made a number of top saves to deny the Stags although to be fair Sunderland created the game's best opportunities.
McCarthy made eight changes to the Sunderland side that lost just down the road at Nottingham Forest on Saturday and it meant starts for Tore Andre Flo, Marcus Stewart and Michael Gray who wore the skipper's armband.
Gray impressed on his return as did Matt Piper and Ben Clark.
One notable absentee was Claudio Reyna. The American was due to travel with the Black Cats squad but was pulled out at the last minute as speculation mounted about his future.
Piper, who spent a time on loan at Mansfield two seasons ago, was back in business after recovering from a groin injury and he played well.
The only survivors from the 2-0 defeat at the City Ground were keeper Poom, Phil Babb and Kevin Kilbane who alos had a good game.
The last time Sunderland visited Field Mill, in July 2001, they lost 4-1 in a pre-season friendly. This one was for real and at stake was a place in the second round of the newly-named Carling Cup.
Both of these sides lost their Nationwide League opener four days earlier, Town going down 2-1 at Kidderminster Harriers, and this was a much-needed win for the Black Cats.
It took the away side just 15 seconds to carve out a good scoring chance. Kilbane fed Stewart on the edge of the area and the striker's first-time ball set up Piper who fired just wide.
The match started at a frantic pace as Town looked to hand Sunderland their 17th successive defeat. The Black Cats had other ideas and Stewart fired a right-foot shot just wide in the 10th minute.
Sunderland didn't have it all their own way and Poom had to make a great one-handed save to turn Wayne Corden's free-kick round the post in the 15th minute, one of several good stops by the Estonian.
A Stewart mistake in the 18th minute nearly let in Iyseden Christie, but a minute later the Wearsiders found themselves ahead and the goal had a shade of luck about it. Thornton fired a corner into a crowded penalty area and it went in off the head of Stags centre-back Artell.
The goal failed to dampen the home side's spirit, however, and only a fine save by Poom denied Luke Dimech an equaliser five minutes later.
Sunderland lived dangerously at times and in the 30th minute, after Babb's clearance had hit Christie, Junior Mendes fired over from just inside the box when he should have at least hit the target.
There wasn't much between the sides in the first half although Poom was the busier of the keepers. The Estonian saved Sunderland in the 42nd minute when Kilbane's clearance bounced into the path of Mendes and he raced 20 yards before shooting at the keeper.
Piper looked lively on the right flank and his cross nearly found Flo's head just before the interval.
Sunderland were under the cosh at the start of the second half as the Stags looked for a giantkilling in front of the live Sky cameras, and Poom had th be alert to palm away Bobby Hassell's free-kick in the 50th minute.
McCarthy made a change in the 51st minute, bringing on Kyle for Flo and it was to end on a happy note for the big Scot.
The Stags, who were relegated to the Third Division last season, continued to ask questions of Sunderland's back-four who defended well.
Kilbane should have wrapped it up in the 68th minute. The winger did the hard work, beating three men but blasted his shot wide with the goal gaping. It was Thornton's turn to miss two minutes later when he fired over with his normally trusty right foot.
Stewart thought he had scored a second for Sunderland in the 70th minute with a header which struck the inside of the post before bouncing into the arms of Kevin Pilkinton.
It was classic cup-tie action, with Town forcing Sunderland into some desperate defending at times and McCarthy's nerves must have been jangling towards the end.
Darren Williams was stretchered off with an ankle injury in the 39th minute after a clash with Town striker Andy White and Stephen Wright came on as his replacement.
The Stags grabbed a deserved equaliser in the 87th minute and it came from Kyle. Sunderland failed to clear Jamie Clarke's long throw and Andy White and Kyle stuck a foot out and it came off the big Scot.
But he was to have the last laugh, firing Piper's cross home in the third minute of injury time.


 

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