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Battling Harriers give Premier League Sunderland a scare
5:35pm Saturday 25th January 2014 in Sport
Sunderland 1, Harriers 0
IMPRESSIVE Harriers gave Sunderland a fright as they saw their amazing FA Cup adventure come to an end at the Stadium of Light.
Charis Mavrias's fifth minute effort proved to be the difference between the Premier League side and the Conference battlers, who exited after a fine run to the Fourth Round.
Kidderminster produced a solid and well-drilled defensive effort which frustrated their glamorous hosts.
Michael Gash and Freddie Ladapo both could have forced a replay if they had taken their chances.
Harriers boss Andy Thorn made two changes from the side which had so memorably knocked out Peterborough United in the Third Round replay.
With Joe Lolley sold to Huddersfield, Marvin Johnson started on the right side of Kidderminster's three-man strike force.
On-loan Burton midfielder Jack Dyer was handed his first ever start for the Carpetmen with Lee Fowler absent from the squad.
A huge travelling army of 3,800 Harriers fans had made the 450 mile tround trip to Wearside and cheer on their Conference Premier heroes.
Sunderland boss Gus Poyet had picked an under strength team, handing debuts to keeper Oscar Ustari and defender Santiago Vegini.
But the away side were under pressure from the start.
Lee Vaughan had to clear a cross from Ondrej Celustska from almost off his own line in the first minute.
Kidderminster fell behind in the fifth minute after a rare slip from Josh Gowling. The centre back diverted a speculative ball into the path of Mavrias, who slotted home.
A good chance to level fell to Gash moments later.
The striker raced onto Emmanuel Giaccherini's poor pass but his shot was well saved by Ustari.
Sunderland continued to pile on the pressure but failed to truly test Danny Lewis in goal.
The closest they came was in the 26th minute, when the unmarked Giacherinni slammed a first time effort a fraction wide.
Lewis was also equal to Black Cat skipper Lee Cattermole's low 20-yard effort.
But otherwise, the men from Worcestershire defended doggedly and bravely and went into the break trailing 1-0.
Harriers continued to defend solidly in the second half and frustrated the hosts who dominated possession but lacked a cutting edge.
Sunderland midfielder El-Hadji Ba was booked for a foul on Kidderminster skipper Kyle Storer.
Danny Lewis made a comfortable save to get behind Vergini's 20-yard effort. Storer was also booked for a high footed challenge on Celutska in the 64th minute.
Sunderland boss Poyet started to bring on senior players such as Jack Colback, Fabio Borini and Craig Gardner as he looked to inject more cutting edgde. Harriers searched for a leveller and Danny Jackman directed a first time 20-yard effort off target.
But a gilt edge chance to force a replay fell to new signing Freddie Ladapo in the 89th minute.
The substitute, who had only signed from Colchester 24 hours before, was picked out by Gash's header but the young striker's right-footed effort flew past the far post.
Lee Vaughan also needed to produce a fine block to deny Borini but Harriers could return to Worcestershire with their heads held high.
Sunderland: Ustari, Celitska, Robege, Diakite, Ba (Gardner, 65), Giaccherini (Borini, 65), Vergini, Roberge, Cattermole (Colback, 72), Mavrias. Subs not used: Pickford, Yeung, O'Shea, Watmore.
Harriers: Lewis, L Vaughan, Demetriou, Storer, Byrne, Gash, Johnson (Gittings, 68), Jackman, Morgan-Smith (Ladapo 68), Dyer Gowling. Subs not used: Dunkley, Malbon, Angus, N Vaughan, Ladaop, Aloi Referee: Roger East Attendance: 25,081 (3,800)
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