Laing makes return in friendly

by Stuart Vose

Defender starts as U21s win at Burnley.

Burnley U21 1 Sunderland U21 2

Sunderland’s under-21s may have seen their league campaign come to an end, but there’s no rest on the horizon yet as they emerged 2-1 winners in a friendly match at Burnley.

Kevin Ball’s development squad came from a goal down to triumph at Turf Moor thanks to goals from Alex Gorrin and Ryan Noble.

And there was more good news as returning defender Louis Laing made his first start since October, playing the first 45 minutes.

The Clarets took the lead on the quarter-hour when Luke O’Neill stole in to head home Steven Hewitt’s corner from eight yards.

But Sunderland soon had their opponents on the back foot and only a superb save from the home goalkeeper prevented the away side from levelling five minutes later.

Ball’s team kept plugging away and were eventually rewarded with an equaliser 11 minutes into the second half.

Adam Mitchell crossed well from the right and Gorrin, making a strong near-post run, deflected the ball in off his shin for his second goal in as many games.

And Noble - also a scorer against Fulham in Sunderland's final league game - wrapped things up 20 minutes from time, curling the ball home after Billy Knott’s shot was blocked by a defender.

Sunderland: Dixon, Marrs, Harrison, Beadling, Ferguson, Mitchell, Gorrin, Laing, Honeyman, Knott, Noble.

Subs: McNamee, Agnew, Cartwright.