THINK SUNDERLAND and the FA Cup and it’s all about Wembley 1973, Bob Stokoe and Ian Porterfield.

Think Sunderland 2019 and the FA Cup and it’s an instantly forgettable draw with Gillingham. Joyful and celebratory this wasn’t.

Now the teams must try and beat each other again a week tomorrow. If this slugfest is anything to go by, expect penalties at Priestfield to separate two middling League One teams. Both fielded strong teams; two starting XIs that could easily be for a Football League outing.

It wasn’t the worst crowd at the Stadium of Light for a competitive game, up on the 6,592 who watched the Leasing.Com Trophy game with Grimsby last month.

The FA Cup shouldn’t be like this.

In 2003, almost 11,000 Hartlepool United fans made the trip up the A19 in a third-round tie, filling what is now known as the New Roker End and more.

In the second-half, with only one stand open to home supporters, goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin had to go into the stand to fetch the ball himself from an errant shot.

More evidence, if needed, of how far the Black Cats have fallen.

Only twice previously have they played a first round FA Cup tie. In 1986, two Paul Atkinson goals saw off Darlington at Roker Park, when almost 17,000 turned up.

Last season they won at this stage of the competition at Port Vale, before losing to Walsall in a second round replay.

Saturday’s draw was the first time the club has not won a first round FA Cup game. Another black mark for the Black Cats 2019.

Now they have to go to Kent for another go at seeing off Steve Evans’ side.

Phil Parkinson knows all about the FA Cup as a manager. His Bradford side beat Sunderland in the quarter-finals in 2015, the victory coming after winning at Chelsea in the previous round.

It’s hard to tell what he would have learned from this performance.

Seven games into Parkinson’s tenure and goalkeeper McLaughlin has to prove himself after being dropped for Lee Burge as soon as the new boss took over.

His error at the weekend won’t have endeared himself to anyone, let alone Parkinson.

Olly Lee’s firmly-struck free-kick from outside the penalty area was a routine save. McLaughlin, away on international duty with Scotland this week, stopped it, pushed the ball to the ground and it bounced and rolled apologetically through his legs.

“Jon is obviously very disappointed with his mistake, an unusual error and he’s hold of the ball and it ends up in the net,’’ reflected Parkinson.

“It does happen, you concede a bizarre goal and it knocks you too much – I’ve seen it happen today.

“Now every player had to make more of it and make sure we go on to win the game by everyone doing a bit more.

“Having the ability to sustain performance is key, we have played well for 45 today and we have to play well all game, come through period in games when it’s not going our way. That’s something we have to work on better.’’

He added: “You can’t legislate for a mistake like that.

“I see today you have to respond better than we did today when we concede. They made it more of a scrappy game, more physical and we didn’t respond to that.

“I think it’s being stronger as a group and you don’t get it all your own way.’’

It was 1-1 draws that proved the downfall for Jack Ross. Too many points dropped, opportunities squandered. This was no different, points aside.

The Black Cats took the lead through Aiden McGeady, his low shot creeping beyond the dive of keeper Jack Bonham.

But they didn’t make the most of their advantage. A familiar story of this season and last.

Players who should be influencing games failed to make any impact. After conceding, as Parkinson pointed out, affected the team too much.

The manager added: “We spoke at half time about them coming out with a more aggressive style of play – we lost headers, challenges straight away.

“You have to respond better than we did when we concede. They made it more of a scrappy game, more physical and we didn’t respond to that.

“I think it’s being stronger as a group and you don’t get it all your own way. It’s not 3-0 against Tranmere at half-time all the way, sometimes you have to dig in, roll your sleeves up.’’

Too many players lacked an influence on the game. Will Grigg looked lost again up front, with no support and little to work off such was the lack of creativity in behind him.

McGeady’s goal aside, he offered little. Max Power and George Dobson were industrious at best.

After going in front, the Black Cats never impressed themselves on the Gills.

Conor McLaughlin, away with the Northern Ireland squad this week and missing for the replay, admitted: “It's always helpful to get that second goal. We should have made it maybe like the Southend game, if we don't concede it stays 1-0, we get a clean sheet and we're into the next round. The lads are all obviously frustrated by the way we played in the second half, so we need to go and put that right now.

"It was fine lines the second half. They had a couple of chances and we did as well. It was that first 15-20 minute spell in the second half where we weren't composed enough and we didn't weather the storm. As I said, we're frustrated and we should've done the same things we did in the first half and made it more comfortable."

He added: "It is fine margins, especially in this league. Against teams in this league, every team has a spell in the game. Today we didn't weather that storm and we're making it hard for ourselves at the minute.

"It's obviously frustration in the dressing room. But we know there is quality in there and we can see it in flashes. But it's more of a determination, really, to do things regularly."

Parkinson has had seven games in charge. Two wins from seven games, one of those against a woeful Tranmere side in his first home game in charge. There has been no lift. The FA Cup isn’t the priority for thr Black Cats this season, neither the Leasing.Com Trophy this time around.

It’s all about promotion and so far there’s been little sign of an side capable of doing better than last season.

"The manager's messages, they're clear, they're simple and we know what we have to do and what he wants,’’ said McLaughlin. “But Saturday, Tuesday comes thick and fast and you have to get a lot of recovery. It's less time on the pitch, and that's obviously another replay now. It's been difficult, but it's another game where we can put things right."