safc u21s

U21s held at the SoL

by Ashley Houghton

Late equaliser cancels out Noble strike.

Sunderland under-21s drew their second consecutive game as Middlesbrough nicked a late point at the Stadium of Light.

Ryan Noble gave the Black Cats the lead just after half-time before Bradley Fewster equalised for Boro 20 minutes from time.

Kevin Ball made four changes to the side that drew with Everton a fortnight ago with first-team players Keiren Westwood, Phil Bardsley, David Vaughan and Adam Reed, who returned from a loan spell at Portsmouth last week, all getting some valuable match action.

Bardsley looked lively throughout the first-half and it was the Scotland international who created the first opening, carrying the ball 20 yards before passing into Noble who set for Craig Lynch who dragged it just wide.

Sunderland were largely dominant throughout and Lynch twice flashed wide after further good play from Bardsley.

Middlesbrough didn’t test Westwood until the last kick of the first-half, and, even then it was a tame 25 yard strike from Luke Williams.

The Black Cats broke the deadlock after just a minute of the second-half, Mikael Mandron closed down a back-pass, colliding with Boro keeper Jayson Leutwiler before Noble latched onto the looping ball to nip home.

Noble went close to doubling the hosts’ advantage ten minutes later but his low 20 yard drive was well saved by Leutwiler.

Boro began to push forward more as the half went on and went close to equalising on the hour, Adam Reech found space at the back post from Andrew Halliday’s cross but blazed over when he should have at least hit the target.

The visitors got their equaliser 20 minutes from time; Fewster beat the Sunderland offside trap and finished well past Westwood.

Middlesbrough may have grabbed a winner late on but Curtis Main’s left footed strike flew over from 20 yards.

Sunderland: Westwood, Bardsley, Ferguson, Vaughan, Harrison, Mangane, Reed, Laidler, Noble, Mandron, Lynch (Mitchell, 78)

Subs not used: Marrs, Wilson, Gorrin, Honeyman.