The boot room at the Academy of Light

Youngsters see off Rangers

by Ashley Houghton

U18s win north of the border.

Sunderland's under-18s maintained their fine pre-season form with a 4-2 victory over Rangers at Murray Park.

15-year-old Andrew Nelson scored twice for the young Black Cats after Dylan McEvoy and Martin Smith had earlier added to their pre-season tallies.

Coaches Ged McNamee and Carlton Fairweather were full of praise for the quality of football displayed by the youngsters who have only failed to win one game so far during pre-season.

Sunderland didn’t start in the best way, though, and they were behind in the first minute of the game.

However the visitors bounced back to equalise after just five minutes as McEvoy finished neatly from Rees Greenwood’s through ball.

The visitors were dominant throughout the remainder of the half but couldn’t find the breakthrough despite Ethan Robson, Greenwood, McEvoy and Smith creating multiple opportunities.

Smith did put the youngsters back in the lead after just eight second-half minutes as McEvoy was fouled inside the area leaving Smith to hammer home the spot-kick.

The lead lasted only a matter of minutes, though, before Rangers were level after a loss of concentration allowed the Scottish side space in behind the Black Cats defence.

Nelson, who was making his first appearance for the under-18’s, put Sunderland back in the lead on the hour mark with a sweet strike from the edge of the area.

And, it was Nelson who wrapped up the win for Sunderland after he closed down a Rangers defender and curled home from 25 yards.

Both McNamee and Fairweather were full of praise for the youngsters who travel to Hibernian on Tuesday before returning to Wearside.