Jassem Sukar

Youngsters remain unbeaten

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Sukar and Nelson on target for youngsters.

Sunderland under-18’s maintained their unbeaten start to pre-season with a 2-2 draw with Hibernian under-20’s in the final leg of their Scottish tour.

Coaches Ged McNamee and Carlton Fairweather made multiple changes to the side that hammered Rangers 4-2 on Sunday to ensure all members of their squad got adequate playing time.

The young Black Cats went 1-0 down before half-time as the older Hibs side cut out lots of the playmaking that had been so effective for the visitors in their win over Rangers.

Changes were made at half-time for Sunderland with Sunday’s two-goal hero, under-16 Andrew Nelson, coming on along with Jordan Blinco, Tom Robson and Michael Ledger.

Nelson’s link-up play was a particular highlight for the youngsters in the second half as he caused lots of problems for the Hibs defence.

The young Black Cats were level soon after the break as Robson got to the by-line and crossed for Jas Sukar to finish from close range.

Chances were a regular occurrence for Sunderland throughout the second period as Robson, Rees Greenwood and Martin Smith all went close.

However, the hosts regained the advantage when they intercepted Peter Burke’s throw and slotted home.

Sunderland were patient in their wait for an equaliser and good play from two under-16’s, Josh Robson and Nelson, opened up space for the latter to smash home from six yards.

Nelson nearly nicked a late winner for the youngsters after a fine solo fun but his strike was well saved.

And Fairweather was pleased with the way the tour ended as the youngsters prepare for their first game of the Barclays U18 Premier League campaign against Chelsea.

“We’re very pleased with the application the boys have shown,” Fairweather said. “We got playing time for everyone which is an added bonus.

“The U16’s that have played have done okay; Josh Robson and Andrew Nelson have equipped themselves very well which bodes well for the future.”