SAFC U21s

Ball reviews derby draw

Published:
by Stuart Vose

U21 coach reflects after late leveller.

Kevin Ball felt his under-21s could have produced more against rivals Newcastle but was pleased to see his mix-and-match side twice come from behind to claim a point.

An entertaining encounter at the Stadium of Light finished 2-2 following Craig Lynch's injury-time equaliser.

“I felt it was one of those games where we always had more to go,” said Ball, whose side also drew two apiece on Tyneside earlier in the season.

There's a real resilience in this team and I think that's important

- Kevin Ball

“We played really well against Aston Villa and were really looking to replicate that performance at the Stadium of Light.

“In the players' defence we did have to change the team around a little bit and then had James [Armstrong] limp off with an injury.

“But by the same token you want the lads to deal with it and to a degree they did. We created more than enough chances to win the game, but Jordan [Pickford] made one or two good saves at the other end for us as well.”

Nile Ranger fired Newcastle into an eighth-minute lead only for Connor Wickham to equalise when he swept home Roarie Deacon's cross from close range.

Bradden Inman then fired home in a crowded penalty area before Sunderland captain Adam Reed saw his penalty strike the inside of the post and bounce away after Wickham was fouled.

Nonetheless, Sunderland kept going and were rewarded a minute into injury time when Lynch found the net with a fine curling shot.

“I thought we could have done better with the first goal,” Ball added. “Then we got it back to one-all only to concede a goal which took two deflections having watched it back.

“Reedy was devastated in the dressing room after missing the penalty and he said sorry to me, but I just told him to keep taking them and keep believing in himself.

“There's a real resilience in this team and I think that's important. After missing the penalty it easily could have gone to 3-1.

“But instead we got ourselves level with a good goal. Jordan Laidler did very well to win the ball and Lynchy deserved his goal.

“He did some fantastic things for us and got himself into good areas – we just want him to pull the trigger a bit more.”

- The full interview can be viewed now only on SAFC TV.