Sunderland 2 Bolton Wanderers 1

Sunderland progressed to the fourth round of the FA Cup with a 2-1 win over Bolton Wanderers at the Stadium of Light.

It was sweet revenge for the Wearsiders, who had been humbled 4-1 by Wanderers back in November.

That drubbing proved to be Roy Keane's last match as Black Cats boss as just days later he walked away from the club.

So it was left to the new man at the helm - Ricky Sbragia - to plot Sunderland's revenge in the cup.

Come the final whistle it was a case of mission accomplished, although it had looked more like mission improbable in the first 45 minutes.

They say that the romance has gone from the oldest cup competition in English football and on the evidence of the opening half at the Stadium of Light, it would be hard to argue as neither side looking like they wanted to be there.

There were chances for both teams in a fairly drab first half, but they were few and far between.

Kenwyne Jones and Djibril Cisse went close for the hosts on 15 and 39 minutes respectively, but on both occasions the strike duo fired wide of the target.

And the Black Cats almost got lucky on 23 minutes as former Wanderer El-Hadji Diouf curled in a corner, the ball bounced off Jones and was headed for the net had Ricardo Gardner not cleared off the line.

Two minutes earlier, Johan Elmander was through on the Sunderland goal but fired straight at Marton Fulop.

However, it was the visitors who went closest to opening the scoring.

With the first half coming to a close, Sunderland conceded a free-kick some 30 yards out.

Bolton's Matt Taylor unleashed a vicious drive which Fulop did well to save at his left-hand post.

The half-time whistle must have come as blessed relief for both sets of fans, who braved the bitter weather to be rewarded with little by the way of entertainment.

Things did improve after the break and it was the hosts who started the brighter - and 10 minutes after the restart they got their reward.

Bolton full-back Gretar Steinnsson felled Diouf to concede a free-kick on the left flank on 57 minutes.

Kieran Richardson stepped up and curled a free-kick into the box where Jones stooped to direct a header into the net.

The Black Cats could have doubled their lead three minutes later as Carlos Edwards rocketed a shot off the crossbar from the edge of the area.

Just after the hour they did exactly that, Edwards crossing from the right and Cisse hooked a volley past Jussi Jaskelainen to make it 2-0.

After that the home side should have been in cruise control but Bolton refused to lie down.

With the game approaching the last ten minutes, the visitors hit back as substitute Ebi Smolarek lobbed the ball over Fulop and into the net at the far post.

It gave Wanderers fresh hope and they continue to press, but in the end Sunderland held firm to progress to the next round.