Billy Knott

Development squad draw opening friendly

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Watmore involved as Black Cats play out stalemate with Saints.

Sunderland’s development squad drew 0-0 in their opening pre-season fixture against Southampton at the Academy of Light.

Duncan Watmore was given his first run out as a second-half substitute whilst Louis Laing and Craig Lynch returned after missing the end of last season due to injury.

Lynch was the first player to close for the Black Cats after cutting inside from the left onto his right foot and driving low at Southampton keeper Will Britt.

Sunderland continued to have more of the play as the first-half progressed with Billy Knott scooping over after being played in by Lynch.

The fluidity of the Black Cats’ play was a particular highlight with quick one-two’s frequent in Sunderland’s attack, Adam Mitchell and Knott combined again on the stroke of half-time but the former’s shot was well saved.

Nine half-time changes were made by Ball as he looked to get the majority of his squad time on the pitch.

Two of the changes, Watmore and Andrew Cartwright, linked up well down the right before the latter’s dangerous cross was headed behind. From the resulting corner Ross Holland saw his headed effort cleared off the line by the Saints’ defence.

Jamal Branker proved a threat to the Sunderland defence when he entered the fray, though his best effort was wonderfully saved by Polish stopper Maksymilian Stryjek.

Watmore nearly grabbed a late winner to mark his first appearance but his shot from the edge of the area was deflected over by the Southampton defence.