Ball pleased with side

by Stuart Vose

U21 coach reflects on rain-soaked encounter.

Kevin Ball departed Altrincham’s Moss Lane last night happy with a point on a soggy evening in the north west.

Craig Lynch and Adam Reed were on target for the Black Cats in a 2-2 draw with Manchester United, who twice came from behind to earn a share of the spoils.

“Manchester United put out a strong side and we saw it as a good challenge,” Ball said.

“To be fair to the players, we went through a few things before the game and within reason they did what we asked of them.

“We played some very good football, our shape was good and we scored two very good goals.”

Lynch fired Sunderland ahead after just 10 minutes with his second goal of the season – a fine effort from outside the box.

Marnick Vermijl’s equaliser on the hour sparked a run of three goals in as many minutes, with Reed converting from close range before Ryan Tunnicliffe levelled.

But Ball was pleased with his side’s response and felt they could have gone on to take all three points.

“The goals Manchester United scored in quick succession took the wind out of our sails and maybe in a couple of areas they could have been prevented,” he explained.

“We were disappointed when we saw the goals back but the players showed resilience, and carried on well.”

He added: “We finished strongly – the game could have gone either way but as things progressed I thought there was every chance it could have been us.

“I was delighted with a draw in the end and even more so with some very good individual and team performances.”