Defeat for under-18s on south coast.
Southampton U18 5 Sunderland U18 2
Sunderland lost to league leaders Southampton by three goals, but the defeat was nowhere near as severe as the scoreline suggests.
There were seven goals in the game but, as coach Craig Liddle said afterwards: “On good chances created, it could easily have been 7-7.”
Sunderland opened brightly and Liam Agnew was through in the first minute, but the keeper saved his effort.
Play switched immediately down the other end as the hosts took the lead.
The South Coast outfit gained in confidence and increased the margin to three goals by half time.
The third goal came just before the break when Sunderland switched off at a short corner, and it proved to be the goal that killed the game.
Both sides created chance after chance in the second period, but Southampton hit the Wearsiders on the break twice following defensive errors to make the score 5-0.
The partial comeback began 20 minutes from time when Lynden Gooch rounded the keeper to register Sunderland’s first goal.
They continued pressing and 10 minutes later Mikael Mandron further reduced the deficit with a header from a short corner.
George Honeyman came close to a third goal but the game finished with a 5-2 scoreline.
Coach Liddle added: “5-2 sounds like a drubbing but it doesn’t fully explain the game.
“Our four individual defensive errors proved costly, but it was by no means the drubbing the scoreline suggests.
Sunderland: Maddison, Reece Noble, Burn, Sukar, Lane, Honeyman, Cartwright, Agnew, T Robson (Hope, 46), Mandron, Gooch (Martin, 70).
Subs Not Used: Smith, Holland, Burke.