Sunderland dominated today’s Barclays U18 Premier League game for long periods and ended with a superb away win against Newcastle at Benton.
Matches against these old rivals always carry extra significance at any level and this game was no exception.
Full of commitment and hope, they give great joy and satisfaction to the victors. OK, it’s tribal but so much better for that – it gives an extra spice to the mix.
Today’s contest was no different, but this win was emphatic and decisive, leaving little room for debate or doubt.
The Wearsiders started like a train and were ahead after only 13 minutes. A good run down the right by Luke Molyneux ended with a cutback to Dan Pybus, whose low drive was deflected past Newcastle keeper Brendan Pearson.
Both Molyneux and Andrew Nelson then forced the keeper into good saves and 18 minutes had gone with the Tynesiders not having a single attack.
Sunderland then consolidated the pressure with a second goal on 20 minutes which Nelson set up with a backheel to Elliott Embleton, who sidefooted coolly into the corner to double the lead.
The home side came back for a 15-minute spell at the beginning of the second period and Sunderland keeper Greg Purvis was out quickly to save well from Louis Johnson at the expense of a corner.
The keeper’s follow through clattered into Johnson, but claims for a penalty were waved away.
Sunderland responded with further near misses and were so unlucky when a flowing move ended with Pybus playing in Nelson, whose shot crashed against the bar.
Newcastle’s Johnson was also through and his effort also hit the bar as the hosts responded.
It was a fine game, with action at both ends now, but the Wearsiders eased away to put the game out of sight with an accomplished finish.
Josh Maja just overelaborated when trying to take the ball round the keeper and then a great run across goal by Nelson left four Magpie players trailing, but he pulled his shot just wide.
However, Sunderland were not to be denied and sealed the game in the 80th minute when Molyneux put Joel Asoio through and the sub striker slipped the ball under the keeper Pearson to give the visitors an invincible lead and put the game to bed.
Post-match, coach Elliott Dickman was justifiably proud of the display, saying: “We controlled the game in general and I was really happy with the performance.”
Newcastle: Pearson, Aziakonou, Kitchen, Donaghey, Pollock, Bailey (Gallacher 40), Heaney, Suddick, Charman, Johnson (McNall 70), Smith.
Sunderland: Purvis, Gamble, Hume, Wright (Bale 81), Casey, Storey, Molyneux (Lowrie 86), Pybus, Nelson, Majo (Asoio 76), Embleton. Subs not used: Woud, Krasnell.