Adam Reed

U21s claim United draw

by Stuart Vose

Competitive encounter ends all square.

Manchester United's under-21s equalised twice to claim a point against their Sunderland counterparts in an entertaining encounter at Altrincham's Moss Lane.

Both sides had to contend with a heavy, rain-soaked pitch but nevertheless produced a competitive match which featured three goals in the space of less than three second-half minutes.

Sunderland took the lead after just 10 minutes when Roarie Deacon found Craig Lynch in acres of space and the forward buried his shot beyond United keeper Sam Johnstone.

United's side boasted the likes of Federico Macheda and Bebe, with the former testing Jordan Pickford in the Sunderland goal before the latter fired into the side-netting.

Ryan Tunnicliffe thought he'd equalised just after the half-hour as his shot beat Pickford only to cannon back out off the post.

Both sides upped the pace in the second half and the goal glut began on the hour when Marnick Vermijl surged forward from left-back to slam a shot past Pickford for the equaliser.

Sunderland roared back and regained the lead almost instantly – Adam Reed reacting first to nudge the ball over the line after seeing his initial header parried by Johnstone.

But if Sunderland's reply was instantaneous, so too was United's as Warren Joyce's side levelled for a second time.

Larnell Cole's clever touch teed up Tunnicliffe, who didn't need a second invitation to sweep the ball home.

Tunnicliffe was then denied a second goal by a fine save from Pickford, but Sunderland could have nicked it late on as Adam Mitchell's free-kick was well saved, while Macheda nearly sliced into his own net after coming back to defend a corner.