Nathan Thomas

Thomas at the double

by David Pilkington

Youngster scores twice as U18s held to draw.

Sunderland U18 2 Stoke City U18 2

Nathan Thomas scored twice as Sunderland's under-18s drew with their Stoke counterparts at the Academy of Light.

The Black Cats, who dominated for long spells, opened the scoring in the 15th minute when Thomas powered down the right wing, cut inside and curled home a left-footed shot from 18 yards.

Sunderland continued to push but were made to pay on 44 minutes when they lost possession in the midfield and Stoke quickly capitalised to level.

The visitors went ahead on 65 minutes when keeper Burke gave the ball away in his own area to gift the Stoke striker a simple tap-in.

Sunderland piled on the pressure and were duly rewarded in the 80th minute as Thomas let fly from the edge of the box, this time with his right foot, and with the Stoke keeper unable to keep hold, coolly slotted the rebound home.

Thomas almost got the winner - and his hat-trick - at the death, but was denied by the visiting keeper.

Coach Craig Liddle said afterwards: "Overall I was very pleased with the performance and thought we'd nicked it at the end. I am disappointed with the two errors, but overall I'm happy."

Sunderland: Burke, Reece Noble, Lane, Beadling, Ledger, Holland, Agnew, E Robson (McCarthy, 75), Thomas, Smith, Stinson (T Robson, 50).

Subs not used: Dixon, McGrath, Sukar.