Jaison McGrath

Youths draw with Millers

by Neville Pilkington

McGrath nets in Rotherham stalemate.

Sunderland U18 1 Rotherham U18 1

Sunderland were held to a draw by a strong Rotherham outfit in a friendly game at the Academy on Tuesday afternoon.

Starring in a midfield role for the Yorkshire side was 18-year-old Mitchell Rose, younger brother of watching Sunderland full-back Danny.  The powerful youngster, who has made two first team appearances, had an outstanding game for the Millers.

The highlight of the first period was a vicious free-kick by Rotherham's Nicky Walker which was tipped onto the bar by Sunderland keeper Johnny Maddison.  The home side's best chance came from Tom Robson, who beat four men but was finally thwarted by the diving keeper.  

The second half opened with a super effort from Sunderland defender Scott Harrison as he crashed a shot just wide.  Harrison, signed from Darlington, looked distinctly promising both in defence and going forward to attack.

Ten minutes into the half, the hosts took the lead.  A visitng defender misjudged a bouncing ball and former Celtic youngster Jaison McGrath was onto it in a flash to slot home.

Rotherham came back with a deflected shot which hit the post, with keeper Peter Burke pulling off a magnificent stop when the rebound was fired goalwards.

Goalscorer McGrath, supplied by Ross Holland, forced another good save but Rotherham grabbed an equaliser three minutes from time.

Former Sunderland Academy lad Connor Bell was the scorer, converting clinically from 10 yards.

Speaking afterwards, coach Craig Liddle said: "The game was arranged to give some youngsters some game time in preparation for the busy schedule ahead.  It gave us a good workout and finished with a fair result."

Sunderland:  Maddison (Burke, 46), Martin, Burn, Harrison, T Robson, McCarthy (McEvoy, 70), Joyce, E Robson, Hope (Holland, 46), McGrath, Trialist.