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U18s notch friendly win

by Stuart Vose

Black Cats win at Middlesbrough.

Neville Pilkington

Sunderland fully deserved a fine away win in the sunshine against near neighbours Middlesbrough.

They played a young side in the perfect conditions at Rockcliffe and started strongly.

The early pressure built and the hosts finally cracked after 20 minutes.  Left side midfielder Tom Robson - who coach Craig Liddle brought from Darlington - made a great run and pulled back to Martin Smith, who hit a fantastic left-footed strike into the top corner.

The young Black Cats largely dictated play for long periods in the game, particularly in the first half. 

However, the home side came back strongly after the break to equalise after 55 minutes when a pass inside the box was  slotted home.

Undeterred, the Wearsiders weathered the storm to regain the lead through Lynden Gooch, who had previously hit the post following a jinking run.  Liam Agnew played a super through ball to the American from Santa Cruz, California and the front man twisted and turned before placing the ball into the bottom corner for the winner.

Coach Liddle said afterwards: "It was a very pleasing performance.  We always threatened going forward, defended solidly and produced a good team performance all round."

Sunderland: Maddison, Ledger, Burn, Suker, Reece Noble, Holland (McCarthy, 65), Agnew (Martin, 60), Cartwright, Robson (Greenwood, 75), Smith (Stimson, 75), Gooch.