Craig Liddle

Liddle reviews Liverpool win

by Ashley Houghton

U18 coach delighted to secure play-off place.

Sunderland under-18 coach Craig Liddle heaped the praise on the young Black Cats as they secured their place in the play-off stage of the Barclays U18 Premier League.

Liddle’s side downed Liverpool 2-0 at the Academy of Light after goals from George Honeyman and James Stinson.

And Liddle, whose side had to win to secure their place, has been delighted with his players’ efforts as the youngsters held off a challenge from Spurs to finish top of Group 2 with 23 points from their 12 games.

“I though the lads were excellent from start to finish today,” Liddle said.

“They [Liverpool] were a very good side and they kept coming back at us but our lads kept the shape and the discipline well.

“I think Liverpool found it hard to break us down so that's a massive credit to the lads.”

Liddle watched on as his side kept their fourth clean sheet in five games, though he admits it was a nervy finish for his side until Stinson popped up with the second goal.

“Towards the end of the game it was a bit nervy as 1-0 is a dangerous lead.

“We hit the bar on a couple of occasions in the first half which would have doubled our lead.

“The pleasing thing [about the first goal] was that the corner was well worked; the lads enjoy working on that sort of aspect of the game and it was a good finish by George.

“James has played for the majority of the games in the second half of the season due to Mikael Mandron being called up to the under-21s and first team and he’s responded well.

“He’s still a young lad and I thought he took his goal really well with his wrong foot.”

Sunderland will now face the winner of group two in a play-off, potentially Newcastle United, to determine who will play in the semi-final of the competition.

And Liddle is pleased to see his side’s season extended for at least a further week with the play-off match.

“We said to the lads before the game hopefully we can go and have another week rather than it ending it today.

“We responded well and we’ll prepare as normal for another good game next weekend against what will be very good opposition.”