Kevin Ball

Ball on derby point

by Stuart Vose

Under-21 boss sums up Newcastle draw.

Kevin Ball felt his development squad's second-half performance at Newcastle was in complete contrast to the opening 45 minutes.

Sunderland's second string drew 2-2 with the Magpies at the Sports Direct Arena, coming from behind to take a point having originally gone ahead in the game.

Connor Wickham's goal was cancelled out by Bradden Inman and Adam Campbell to leave Ball frustrated at the break.

It was a good experience for the other players too and a valuable part of their development.

- Kevin Ball

But following some half-time words Sunderland responded in style to boss the second period, levelling when striker Wickham tucked home his second of the match.

And the under-21 boss felt his side's performance in the second 45 minutes was much better as they created a number of opportunities and stretched their hosts for long periods.

"We started by scoring a good goal but then conceded two which were both probably preventable," Ball said afterwards.

"Then we were looking for some sort of reaction but didn't get it. We were looking at the players for someone to make a stand and be a leader.

"We had to wait until half-time for an opportunity to speak to the players and we saw a totally different attitude in the second half.

"We upped the tempo and had numerous chances, which you'd like to think that if we had them again in the future we'd put them away."

He added: "Fair play to Connor for scoring his two goals, and the nice thing was that a lot of senior players got time on the pitch.

"It was a good experience for the other players too and a valuable part of their development."