SUNDERLAND EASED into the F.A Cup 4th round this afternoon having brushed aside a lacklustre Peterborough side.
Second-half goals from Sebastian Larsson and James McClean did the job for Martin O`Neill`s side who were never seriously threatened by the Posh.
Robbed of the service of Wes Brown, Nicklas Bendtner and Jack Colback, Martin O`Neill brought in Kieran Richardson and Phil Bardsley. Matt Kilgallon continued in place of Brown. Connor Wickham and Ryan Noble both made the bench whilst James McClean started against the club he could have joined over the summer.
The opening exchanges were fairly equal with both sides failing to carve out too many chances in the opening 25 minutes.
Larsson was unlucky to be blocked off by Ryan Bennett from Craig Gardner`s right-wing cross before Paul Taylor lashed narrowly wide of Simon Mignolet`s right-hand post.
McClean came even closer when he thundered a left-footed drive off of the corner of crossbar and post with Joe Lewis beaten.
Gardner came close just after the half hour mark, nodding Larsson`s centre at Lewis who palmed it around the post for a corner.
Just two minutes into the second half, Sunderland took the lead through Larsson. From a position deep on the right the Swede swung a free-kick into the centre but no-one was able to get the telling touch as the ball flashed past Lewis to hand the Black Cats the lead.
McClean came close again when he darted in from the left before diving a right-footed effort against a Posh defender and narrowly wide of the far-post.
One corner lead to another and at the second attempt, McClean whipped a powerful header home from inside the six yard box.
With 20 minutes to play, Bardsley came close with a low-right footed effort that veered just wide of the right-hand post from outside the area.
Sunderland progress into the next round with room to spare against a Peterborough side that scarcely turned up on the afternoon. The Fourth Round draw is later this afternoon.
Peterborough United: Lewis; Alcock, Bennett, Zakuani, Rowe (Little); Tomlin, Tunnicliffe, Wooton (Kearns) , Boyd (c); Taylor & Sinclair (Newell).
Subs not used: Jones (gk); Thompson, Gordon-Hutton & Lawler.
Sunderland: Mignolet; Bardsley, O’Shea, Kilgallon, Richardson; Larsson, Cattermole, Gardner (Elmohamady), Vaughan (Meyler); McClean; Sessegnon (Ji).
Subs not used: Westwood (gk); Turner, Wickham & Noble.
Referee: Mr M Atkinson.