Liam Agnew

U21s slip to defeat

by Ashley Houghton

Baggies overturn development squad.

Sunderland U21s 2 West Bromwich Albion U21s 1

Sunderland’s development squad fell to only their second defeat of the season as West Bromwich Albion ran out 2-1 winners at Eppleton CW on Monday evening.

Mani O’Sullivan scored twice for the Baggies either side of Liam Agnew’s first-half penalty as John Egan and Louis Laing completed their first competitive 90 minutes since returning from their respective injuries.

Craig Lynch was also making his first league start of the season and the County Durham-born forward was the first to go close as he shot wide after good build-up play from Duncan Watmore.

Joel Dixon was forced into action minutes later as he made a smart save from Daniel Barrow’s left-footed strike.

West Brom were ahead minutes later as O’Sullivan smashed home Cameron Gayle’s cut back from the centre of the box.

The Black Cats were quick to respond, though, as Charis Mavrias cut in from the left and curled just over from 20 yards.

Kevin Ball’s side were level on the half hour after Watmore was brought down by Callum Jones in the area and Agnew stepped up to smash into Jack Rose’s top left-hand corner.

Lynch again went close to putting Sunderland ahead but he curled over after further good work from former Altrincham man Watmore.

El-Hadji Ba headed against the crossbar from Mavrias’ corner early in the second-half before the Greek winger forced Rose into a low save.

However, the visitors regained the advantage just after the hour mark as O’Sullivan was played into the area by Barrow to slot home his second home of the evening.

The Baggies’ goal kicked Sunderland into life and the introduction of attacking midfielder George Honeyman sparked an onslaught from the Black Cats.

The Prudhoe-born youngster set Laing through on goal but the defender crashed his shot into the side-netting before Honeyman himself shot wide after good link-up play with Mavrias.

Egan headed Ross Holland’s corner just wide in injury time before Watmore also flashed a shot across goal but it was not to be for Ball’s youngsters suffered their first home defeat of the season.

Sunderland: Dixon, Laing, Ferguson, Agnew, McNamee, Egan, Watmore, Ba, Lynch, Moberg Karlsson (Honeyman, 72), Mavrias (Holland, 82).

Subs not used: Stryjek, Lawson, Beadling.