Tom Robson

Youngsters draw final friendly

by Neville Pilkington

Robson and Blinco score in draw with Barnsley.

Sunderland concluded their pre-season build up with an entertaining 2-2 draw against Barnsley at the Academy of Light on Saturday.

It was a game that the young Black Cats should have won after dominating the second period but they found the Tykes formation, of sometimes ten men behind the ball, difficult to break down.

Sunderland started well with American striker Lyndon Gooch turning well in the box before having his shot diverted for a corner.

The same fate fell to Martin Smith moments later and then an interchange between Smith and Tom Beadling saw the latter’s shot drift narrowly wide.  From a Tom Robson centre, Smith's half volley was just wide as Sunderland pressed with both Smith and Ethan Robson bossing the mid field.

On the half hour, Barnsley's Nana drew a great save from Sunderland's Irish keeper James Talbot but minutes later the same player gave the visitors the lead with a surprise goal when he rammed home a cutback from the left at the far post.

It was completely against the run of play but eight minutes later Nana got his second to double the lead.  The trialist set off with a run from near the halfway line to leave three defenders trailing in his wake before shooting low past Talbot.

One minute before half time, the home side crucially pulled one back with a bolt out of the blue from left-back Robson.  The defender let fly from fully 35 yards to rocket a low strike just inside the post into the bottom corner to put Sunderland back into the game.

Four minutes after the break, Beadling had a shot cleared off the line following a corner but on the hour mark, Sunderland did deservedly level; Robson found Jordan Blinco inside the box and the winger shot first-time under the advancing keeper and found the net.

The young Black Cats were well in control for the rest of the game, pressing continually, but just couldn't do enough to clinch the game.

Sunderland:  Talbot, Ledger, Colquohoun (Sukar, 70). Beadling (Hesketh, 70), Robson T, Greenwood, Smith, E. Robson, Blinco, Gooch, Stinson.