Steven McCarthy

Youths extend lead

by Ashley Houghton

Under-18s overturn Stoke City.

Sunderland’s under-18’s extended their lead at the top of the Barclays Premier League Group One to three points with a 2-0 victory at Stoke City.

Goals from Steven McCarthy and Ethan Robson earned Craig Liddle’s side the points as the Young Black Cats outplayed the Potters at Clayton Wood.

It was an assured performance from Liddle’s side and, after a slow start, went close to taking the lead on the half-hour through Tom Robson but his left-footed shot was well saved by Dale Eve.

Sunderland took the lead ten minutes before the break, Liam Agnew picked out McCarthy with a wonderful cross-field pass and McCarthy finished coolly – slotting through Eve’s legs from ten yards.

Stoke couldn’t find a way into the game and the resolute Black Cats backline held firm with keeper Peter Burke rarely called into action in the first-half.

In fact, Sunderland could have doubled their advantage after just a minute of the first-half Tom Robson’s flashing left-foot strike went just wide.

And the visitors doubled their lead on the hour mark; Tom Robson won the ball well 30 yards from goal and after good interplay with James Stinson the ball broke for Ethan Robson who showed good composure driving home from the edge of the area.

Stoke took the game to Sunderland in the final 20 minutes and went close when Charlie Shenton crossed for Ollie Ward whose effort was wonderfully saved by Peter Burke in the Black Cats goal.

For all Sunderland’s pressure, they were thankful to Republic of Ireland stopper Burke who made a string of fine saves on his first game for the Black Cats since returning from the U17 European Championships in Austria.

McCarthy and Stinson both went close to adding a third for Liddle’s side but to no avail as the Black Cats travel back to Wearside with all three points.

Sunderland: Burke, Ledger, Sukar, Agnew, Beadling, McNamee, McCarthy, Holland, Stinson, E. Robson, T. Robson.