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Smith piles on agony for Wilko; SUNDERLAND 0 WATFORD 1.

A BITTERLY contested penalty by Tommy Smith saw Watford scramble into the quarter-finals of the FA Cup and pile on the agony for the Premiership's bottom side.

Howard Wilkinson's Sunderland paid the price for missed chances with Kevin Phillips shouldering much of the blame for wasting several opportunities against the club where he started his league career.

His old friend Smith took the personal honours, capitalising on an unfortunate return for Jason McAteer.

The Republic of Ireland star, making his first appearance for Sunderland since September after two hernia operations, conceded the penalty that led to Smith scoring the only goal.

Disputed

The penalty was hotly-disputed by Sunderland and their feelings towards referee Mike Dean were not improved when, after Thomas Sorensen had saved the first spot-kick, he ordered it to be retaken - Smith finding the back of the net this time.

From the moment early on in the game when Phillips missed a glorious chance after being put through by Tore Andre Flo, it did not look like Sunderland's day. One-on-one with goalkeeper Alec Chamberlain, the striker placed his shot wide.

Phillips must have been regretting his earlier miss and he tried to make amends when Gray's cross picked him out but his firm header was straight at Chamberlain, a former Sunderland player.

Hyde skied a shot from the edge of the box, Flo tried to turn and shoot and then Smith had a shot deflected for a corner in brief flurries of activity as the half drew to a close.

If the game had been poor as a spectacle in the first half it did not get much better in the second.

When Arca did try to up the tempo with a low drive from 25 yards it struck Phillips' back and then Phillips himself found Flo in his way when he tried to line up a shot.

The match burst into life in the 65th minute when McAteer was penalised for fouling Helguson in the box and referee Dean awarded a spot-kick.

Smith took it, Sorensen dived low to his right to save but Sunderland's delight was short-lived as Dean ordered a re-take for the Dane being two yards off his line.

This time Smith scored but Sorensen was hugely unlucky not to save again after getting his left hand to the ball.

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Title Annotation:Football
Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Feb 16, 2003
Words:778
Previous Article:SAINTS STRIKE AT THE DEATH; SOUTHAMPTON 2 NORWICH 0.
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