U21s notch Spurs victory

by Neville Pilkington

Noble and Oliver score in win.

Sunderland U21s 2 Spurs U21s 1
Sunderland finished their pre-Christmas programme in style with a fine display against Spurs at the Academy of Light. 

The London side included England international Scott Parker, who was continuing his comeback following a long-term injury.

Sunderland started well and Ryan Noble - returning from his loan spell with Hartlepool - was first to show with a run down the left side but Spurs keeper Lawrence Vigouroux was out fast to block with his legs.
Spurs replied with Alex Pritchard putting a low ball across the face of the goal where Dean Parrett's effort was blocked but they were back to take the lead on 18 minutes.  

Winger Christian Ceballos weaved in from the right past two men to crash a left footed strike into the top corner giving Sunderland keeper Ben Wilson no chance.

The hosts came back when a corner taken by Adam Mitchell found Noble unmarked eight yards out but the striker blazed over the top.  

However, he made amends two minutes later when Mitchell played in Jordan Laidler who crossed for Noble to take two touches in his stride to score with the ball bobbling past keeper Vigouroux.

On 38 minutes Kevin Ball's lads took the lead from a set piece.  A right side corner was taken by Mitchell and the ball hung in the air where Vigouroux missed his punch and defender Connor Oliver headed in for a half time lead.
Both sides had chances in a hard fought but skillful second period.  For Sunderland, Alex Gorrin put a great ball through for Noble to have a one-on-one but Vigouroux again saved with his legs from a narrow angle.  Noble was through on 79 minutes and squared for Mitchell to put a good chance over the bar.
Sunderland were now largely in control and a clever ball from Adam Reed put Noble in but once more the keeper was out to close down.
There was a scare for the hosts when a back pass by Laidler lacked enough pace to reach Sunderland keeper Ben Wilson but central defender Scott Harrison saved the situation with a magnificent tackle.  
Spurs sub Sully Coulibaly could have gained the visitors a point but twice fired wide to leave Sunderland with the hard earned win their display deserved.

After the game coach Kevin Ball said: "That was a fantastic all round football performance from Sunderland - we were patient with lots of chasing and created many chances.  It was a great way to round off this part of the campaign."
Sunderland:  Wilson, Marrs, Ferguson, Reed, Harrison, Oliver, Mitchell, Gorrin, Noble, Laidler, Deacon.
Subs not used:  Joyce, Pickford, Callaghan, Knott.
Spurs:  Vigouroux, Barthram. Stewart, Luongo, Hall, Veljkovic (Gallifuoco 80), Parrett (Coulibaly 62), Parker, Obika, Pritchard (Munns 80), Ceballos.