SUNDERLAND manager Howard Wilkinson last night hailed his "Cinderella'' side after they pulled off a fairytale victory at Arsenal.

The Black Cats overturned a two-goal half-time deficit in dramatic style to book their place in the fourth round of the Worthington Cup.

Marcus Stewart, signed from Ipswich for £1.8m by former boss Peter Reid just before the transfer deadline, scored twice after claiming an assist for Kevin Kyle's first senior goal to inflict the Gunners' fifth defeat in six games.

Uncharacteristically, Wilkinson spent much of the match in the dug-out, and explained: "I felt I needed to be down there because we had so many youngsters playing - they were Cinderellas.

"Tactically, in the first 20 minutes, we weren't right and that needed sorting out.

"We changed the shape of the team at half-time and brought on Matt Piper, and I think that was a factor in stopping Arsenal.

"That's the first time that this team has played together - and I didn't announce the side until Monday.

"I told those who played, and the others, that I thought that fielding this side was the best way to win the game.

"Hopefully, there will be a carry over from this result. It helps the morale of all the players.''

Stewart, recalled last night, opened his Sunderland account with two goals in the 7-0 romp at Cambridge in the last round of the competition.

And Wilkinson enthused: "Marcus was fantastic - he scored two terrific goals here and played in different positions during the game, going deep and wide.

"He's been low on confidence and I spoke to him after the West Ham game. This match will have done him a lot of good.''

Read more about Sunderland here.