Carling Cup Round-Up – Brighton edge through as Bruce’s boys disappoint

Brighton & Hove Albion pulled off the shock of Tuesday night’s Carling Cup clashes as an extra time Craig Mackail-Smith strike sealed a 1-0 win over Sunderland.

It capped off a bad week for the Black Cats who were still seething from derby day defeat to Newcastle on Saturday.

Seven of their new summer signings featured at the Amex Stadium but they were unable to break down Gus Poyet’s men who struck the telling blow six minutes into the first extra period when Mackail-Smith expertly met an Alan Navarro cross.

Sunderland manager Steve Bruce was understandably upset at the defeat and told the club’s official website he was disappointed that they failed to progress: “My overriding emotion is one of disappointment because I’ve said all along we take cup competitions extremely seriously and we put out a team that mirrored that.

“The goal was sloppy – bad defending. We switched off and were punished for it. If you don’t score, you don’t win football matches and at the moment that’s where we’re lacking.”

Elsewhere it was a disappointing night for newly promoted Premier League trio QPR, Norwich and Swansea who all crashed out to lower league opposition.

The Canaries paid the price for overhauling their entire starting line-up from Sunday’s draw with Stoke as they were thumped 4-0 by League One side MK Dons.

Swansea were also quick to ring the changes making nine from their Premier League outing at the weekend. Unfortunately for manager Brendan Rodgers they went the same way as Norwich as they were dumped out 3-1 away at Shrewsbury despite taking an early lead from a Shane Cansdell-Sherriff own goal.

A QPR side featuring captain Adel Taarabt were the final Premier League side to tumble as they were defeated 2-0 by Rochdale in front of a sparse crowd of 4,755 at Loftus Road.

As well as Shrewsbury it was up to Bristol Rovers to continue flying the flag for the Football League’s bottom tier as they triumphed on penalties against Championship boys Watford.

The Gas bounced back well after falling behind after two minutes when Matt Harrold fired home from distance and eventually prevailed in the lottery of the shoot-out as Scott Bevan saved from Carl Dickinson and John Eustace.

Barnet and Hereford can also be proud of their exploits as they fought valiantly against higher league opposition. Burnley needed extra time to fight off a stubborn Bees side who had recovered from 2-0 down in normal time to level the match.

Hereford held Premier League giants Aston Villa for 80 minutes before two late goals saw the Villans progress.

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