U21 side win at Leeds

by Stuart Vose

Watmore and Lawson on target in Yorkshire.

Leeds United U21 1 Sunderland U21 2

Sunderland’s development squad turned in an excellent performance to beat Leeds 2-1 in a friendly at the Yorkshire club’s Thorp Arch training base on Monday afternoon.

Duncan Watmore’s early opener was cancelled out moments later, but Carl Lawson’s composed strike just after half time handed the visitors the victory.

United fielded a strong team, including ex-Sunderland man El-Hadji Diouf and towering striker Matt Smith.

But Sunderland proved more than up for the challenge, matching the hosts’ high tempo and carving out a number of chances.

They went ahead after just eight minutes when Mikael Mandron was denied at close range only for the ball to fall to summer signing Watmore (pictured), who made no mistake.

However, United punished a lapse to equalise moments later; Smith heading the ball down into the path of a colleague who beat Joel Dixon in the Sunderland goal.

Undeterred, the Black Cats kept going, keeping possession well without being able to provide a finishing touch as the sides went in level at the break.

Sunderland upped the ante again after the restart and re-established their lead in the opening stages of the second period.

An excellent ball down the left released David Ferguson, whose whipped cross was met by Mandron; the striker had a half-chance before the ball eventually came out to Lawson, who fired low into the bottom corner.

The visitors were the better side for the remainder of the game as they secured victory, leaving coach Kevin Ball delighted.

“Leeds had a good team out and we had to cope with a different style of play with Matt Smith up front,” he told safc.com afterwards.

“I was disappointed to concede the equaliser so soon after the first goal; although it was an excellent finish it was disappointing from our point of view.

“To give the lads credit they played really well in the remainder of the first half.

“There were a lot of balls coming into our box but we defended well and Joel Dixon turned in a very good performance in goal.

“We scored a good goal to go ahead again and I thought we were the better side for the remainder of the game.

“At 2-1 we were still mindful of their threat going forward and we had to compete well at set plays, which we dutifully did.

“We defended well as a back five and I was pleased with our play going forward as well.”

Sunderland: Dixon, Marrs, Ferguson, Cartwright (Agnew, 60), McNamee, Harrison, Holland (Mitchell, 60), Gorrin, Mandron, Lawson (Honeyman, 60), Watmore.

Subs not used: Stryjek.