Recreativo de Huelva 0 Sunderland 1

by Stuart Vose

Mandron scores the winner in first of three friendlies in Portugal.

Over 1,000 Sunderland supporters were in fine voice at the Estadio Municipal de Albufeira in the Algarve as the Black Cats beat Recreativo de Huelva.

After impressing against Carlisle United and Hartlepool United last week, a number of the club’s U21 side were given the nod by head coach Gus Poyet to start the game against the Spanish Segunda Division side.

And it was striker Mikael Mandron who grabbed the only goal of the game as the Wearsiders continued to build their fitness during pre-season.

The first half of the game was fairly even, with both sides having chances to open the scoring.

Midfielder Martin Smith came closest to breaking the deadlock with Sunderland’s best chance of the first half, smashing the ball against the crossbar from 25 yards out. The rebound fell to left-back David Ferguson, whose low shot across the face of goal flashed narrowly wide.

The Spanish side had their opportunities too and would have scored in style with a back-heeled effort but for a block on the line by Liam Agnew.

Recreativo ended the half strongly with a counter attack just before the break but centre-back Menosse’s shot flew just wide of the post.

The Black Cats made five changes at half time with Valentin Roberge, El Hadji Ba, Liam Bridcutt, Alfred N'Diaye and Charis Mavrias all getting run-outs. 

The Spanish side had the first chance of the second half with Menosse’s header at the back post hitting the bar after Montoro’s deep cross from the left wing.

Sunderland looked to create chances with N’Diaye bursting through the Recreativo midfield to play Mavrias into the game on the left wing, whilst Andrew Cartwright, who scored twice against Hartlepool last week, continued to push high up the pitch from right-back.

With just over ten minutes remaining, the Black Cats broke the deadlock from the penalty spot through Mandron.

Mavrias showed quick feet on the right wing, cutting inside, beating two defenders, bursting into the box where has was brought down by defender Fran Avila as he was about to pull the trigger. 

Striker Mandron stepped up to smash the ball down the middle to grab his second goal of pre-season for the Black Cats.

Recreativo looked for an instant reply with Aitor firing a shot from just inside the box which cleared Dixon's crossbar.

The Black Cats retained their lead, though, to record a 1-0 win ahead of taking on Portuguese side CD Nacional tomorrow evening.

Sunderland: Dixon, Cartwright, McNamee (Roberge, 46), Beadling, Ferguson, Agnew (N'Diaye, 46), Smith (Bridcutt, 46), Honeyman, Watmore (Ba, 46), Lawson (Mavrias, 46), Mandron.

Sub not used: Mannone.

Recreativo: Galvez, Veja (Corcoles, 70), Juanan (Zamora, 70), Montoro (Jesus, 70), Nunez (Jorge, 70), Joselu (Araujo, 70), Cabrera (Aitor, 70), Dimas (Molina, 70), Diaz (Koke, 70), Menosse (Caye, 70), Zambrano (Avila, 70).

Sub not used: Sotres.