Youngster nets treble in U21s' win at Consett.
Consett 1 Sunderland U21 4
Sunderland’s development squad ran out comfortable 4-1 winners against Consett at Belle Vue Park in the Steelmen’s penultimate fixture at their home of 63 years.
Tom Robson scored a second-half hat-trick for Kevin Ball’s side in a fixture which mirrored the first game ever to be played at Consett’s home, back in 1950, when a Sunderland side played in front of over 7,000 spectators.
Ryan Noble was also on the scoresheet for the Black Cats after Consett had taken a first-half lead.
Ball’s side included Louis Laing, who played his first 90 minutes in nearly a year, and George Honeyman, who scored a vital goal for Craig Liddle’s under-18 side in last weekend’s 2-0 victory over Liverpool.
Sunderland eased their way into the game on a difficult surface and went close to opening the scoring on 20 minutes when Scott Harrison saw his header from Adam Mitchell’s corner well saved.
The hosts took the lead on the half-hour as Joel Dixon parried a long range effort and the Consett frontman was quickest to react to prod home.
The Black Cats began to show their superiority in the second half following the introduction of Robson, Liam Agnew and Tom Beadling.
First, Adam Mitchell’s half-volley went narrowly wide after the Steelmen’s defence failed to clear.
Sunderland were level just five minutes after the break; Noble latched onto Agnew’s through ball and fed Robson who made no mistake from six yards.
Laing, who played in a holding midfield role, was the provider for the Black Cats’ second; the 20-year-old broke from his own half and saw his shot well saved before Noble rolled in the follow-up.
Robson grabbed his second just after the hour mark as he picked up Alex Gorrin’s pass and cut inside before beating the Consett keeper.
And the former Darlington man bagged his third, and his best, goal five minutes from time; he brought a high ball down and volleyed home with his weaker right foot to wrap the win up for Ball’s side.
Sunderland: Dixon (Pickford, 70), Cartwright (Agnew, 45), Ferguson, Laing (c), Harrison, McNamee (Beadling, 45), Mitchell (Smith, 73), Gorrin, Noble, Knott, Honeyman (T Robson, 45).