Kevin Ball

Ball on Hull victory

by Stuart Vose

Under-21s worthy winners, says coach.

Kevin Ball was pleased with his development squad’s efforts as they came through a tough test  to beat Hull City 3-1 in a friendly yesterday.

The under-21s have had heavy training sessions laid on of late as well as tough friendlies against Celtic and the Tigers.

A young side bossed proceedings at the Academy of Light yesterday, with Jordan Laidler, Blair Adams and a trialist all on target.

Once we got the first five minutes out of the way we got into our stride and played some really good football

- Kevin Ball

Jamie Devitt replied from the penalty spot for Stephen Clemence’s side, but Sunderland were just too strong.

“With the games in the development league having a bit of a lull we needed to fill in,” Ball said.

 “It was a good game played in good conditions – fortunately for us there wasn’t too much wind.

“We got off to a sluggish start and I wondered if the game would be a real test because we’ve done some very hard training sessions recently. I did wonder if it might have been too much for the players.

“But once we got those first five minutes out of the way we got into our stride and played some really good football.”

Having not had a league game since October 8, the second string are set for a busy period.

They are back in Barclays U21 Premier League action against Aston Villa next Thursday (November 1) and then entertain Southampton four days later.

And Ball is encouraged by the recent progress, saying his side found another gear yesterday after Hull reduced the arrears from the penalty spot.

He added: “I wanted to see an improvement in certain areas and I did see that, which I was delighted with.

“It was a good workout and I think we were worthy winners. We controlled the game.

“They did get back into it with the penalty, but we went to another level and got another goal. I thought we kept the ball really well, too.”