KEITH Bertschin’s young guns crashed to a 2-0 defeat at home to Aston Villa.
The Wearsiders failed to deal with the extra pace and power of their slightly senior visitors, who secured the Premier Reserve League South title with the victory.
Reserves coach Bertschin was disappointed with the result, but feels it may prove beneficial to his side in the long run.
“It’s hugely important that they don’t get too disheartened, but also hugely important that if they thought they were quite close to being a player, that they realise there’s work to be done,” said Bertschin.
“As I’ve explained to the boys, the second goal killed us. A few of them are very young, but they are getting the idea of it and I’m telling them it’s a head start for them.
“We do carry a number of smaller players so they have to make some sort of dynamic contribution to play every week.
“You can live with a tricky ball player in the youth team.
“But if he isn’t like that in the reserves and he’s just another little lad running around, you lose your value.
“James Armstrong and Roarie Deacon who have been used to playing with other players their own age, are doing really well to have the sort of games they’re having.
“But the young ones are still coming to terms with the speed and strength of the game.
“That’s not to say it’s only the young ones.
“One or two of our senior ones have blown hot and cold as well.
“But we have to look at it and say really our only attack on goal was a free-kick.
“We have to be more creative, industrious and powerful in the opponent’s half of the pitch.”
Villa broke the deadlock in the 12th minute when dreadlocked skipper Daniel Johnson poked the ball through to striker Michael Drennan with just Ben Wilson to beat.
Drennan added another goal late in the second half to complete the victory for Villa.
SUNDERLAND: Wilson, Marrs, Callaghan (Mandron 77), Bagnall, Watson, Honeyman, Oliver, Armstrong, Deacon, Lawson, Laidler (Mitchell 68). Subs Not Used: Gibbons, Dixon.
ASTON VILLA: Siegrist, Webb (Nelson-Addy 89), Stevens, Johnson, Donacien, Williams, Graham, Taylor, Drennan, Burke (Caira 58), Cameron (Grealish 76). Subs Not Used: Devine, Barrett.