Derby devastation, but coach salutes young Black Cats’ fighting qualities

Joel Asoro (left) and goalscorer Josh Maja rush to get the ball back after Sunderland cut the deficit to one goal in last night's FA Youth Cup tie. Picture by Tom Banks
Joel Asoro (left) and goalscorer Josh Maja rush to get the ball back after Sunderland cut the deficit to one goal in last night's FA Youth Cup tie. Picture by Tom Banks
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Elliott Dickman was proud of his ‘devastated’ Sunderland players after they were narrowly beaten by Newcastle United in the FA Youth Cup fifth round last night.

The Black Cats were trailing 2-0 at the interval and 3-1 after 70 minutes, but fought back to level the scores.

Joel Asoro almost won it with a firm header late in the game, but there was heartbreak to follow as Lewis McNall slotted home the visitors’ winner.

Sunderland completely dominated the second half but were left to rue defensive errors and missed chances in the opening 45.

Dickman said: “All the lads are devastated because we probably didn’t do ourselves justice in the first half,

“We could’ve played a lot better, our shape wasn’t what we like and we gave them too much of a chance to play which made it tough for us.

“They probably edged it in the opening period, but we had the better chances and it comes down to taking them.”

Dickman was full of praise for his players’ commitment and application in turning the game around, and called on them to learn from the experience.

He said: “We all are devastated, but the big thing is the character and the fact the players now need to learn from their mistakes to make sure they don’t let that happen again.

“I had a good feeling when we equalised – we had a good intensity to our play, we had a purpose to what we were doing and we created some great chances. The players gave everything they had and they never gave up.”

Dickman, meanwhile, has been promoted to take charge of the Black Cats’ U23, with Andy Welsh leaving to join Warren Joyce’s coaching staff at Championship club Wigan Athletic.

Academy coach Mark Atkinson will step up to the role of Under-18s manager, continuing his upward progress since joining the club in 2006.

Sunderland’s chief football officer, Simon Wilson said: “Our Academy is not only about developing Sunderland players it is also about developing Sunderland coaches.

“Therefore, as a club, we are really keen that we can promote from within.”