Newcastle United U18 2-2 Sunderland U18
Lee Connelly scored twice as Sunderland under-18s were forced to settle for a point in Tuesday’s mini Tyne-Wear derby against Newcastle.
On a crisp afternoon in Tyneside, Connelly broke the deadlock on 17 minutes with an extremely calm one on one finish.
Kelland Watts struck back just after the half hour mark with a fine looping header before Connelly restored the lads’ advantage with a ruthless strike from inside the area.
Newcastle came on strong in the second period, though, and earned a share of the spoils through Mohammed Sangare who profited from a right flank cross.
Fresh from defeating Liverpool on Saturday, Sunderland under-18s headed to Newcastle – their aim to secure back-to-back victories.
Flying high on the confidence gained from a comeback win over the Reds, scorer of a sublime free-kick Chris Allan started in the centre of the park while Ben Kimpioka, scorer of the Black Cats’ winner on Saturday, began the afternoon on the bench.
Newcastle got proceedings underway at their academy training ground but it was Mark Atkinson’s side who produced the brighter football.
Jordan Hickey and Allan orchestrated play from deep while Jack Diamond was his energetic self just behind Connelly who led the line for the Black Cats.
With 17 minutes played, Connelly made the breakthrough as he raced in behind and calmly found the back of the net with an ice cool finish as he broke in behind.
Newcastle responded well and quickly penned Sunderland deep into their own half, Sangare’s physical presence played a huge part in that as he threw his weight around.
16 minutes after falling behind, Watt’s looping header saw the Magpies draw level as Michael Woud was caught off his line and unable to prevent the ball from dipping inches under his crossbar.
Atkinson hollered from the touchline for his players to keep their calm and to remain positive, and that’s exactly what they did as skipper Brandon Taylor flew in with a number of strong tackles to try and reassert the Black Cats’ control on the fixture.
Then, with the first period all but over, a sweeping move from the lads ended as Connelly sneaked across the Magpies’ backline and did what he does best by doubling his tally for the afternoon.
Newcastle dusted themselves down during the midway interval and came on strong in the second period as the attempted to him a route back into the match.
Woud made a string of fine stops but could do little to prevent the Magpies’ equaliser as the towering figure of Sangare stabbed home following a goalmouth scramble.
The result sees the Black Cats move onto level points with Wolverhampton Wanderers in the U18 Premier League however they remain bottom on goal difference.
Newcastle United U18 starting XI: Smith, Kitchen, Cass, Lowther, Bailey, Adu-Peprah, Spooner, Sangare, Watts, Wilson, Smith.
Subs: Allan, Huuhtanen, Aplin, Gamblin, Aziakonou
Sunderland U18 starting XI: Woud, Gamble, Krusnell, Hickey, Taylor, Young, Best, Allan, Diamond, Connelly, Hackett.
Subs: Kimpioka, Patterson, Slack, Howard