Development squad in action

by Stuart Vose

Under-21's defeated by Leeds.

Sunderland U21 1 Leeds United U21 3

Despite erasing a 1-0 half-time deficit, Sunderland’s under-21’s slipped to a 3-1 reverse in a friendly against Leeds at the Academy of Light.

Lewis Walters fired United into the lead just after the half-hour before David Moberg Karlsson levelled on the hour.

But Kalvin Philips found the back of the net just a minute later to re-establish the visitors’ lead before Walters’ second goal eight minutes from time secured the victory.

Coach Kevin Ball felt his side created sufficient chances to have won the game – they rattled the bar in the first half as well as having two efforts cleared off the line.

They came close to opening the scoring in the first 10 minutes as George Honeyman’s chip struck the angle of post and bar.

Moberg Karlsson came close just before the half-hour, driving forward after being played in by Liam Agnew and blasting a shot just wide.

The Swede then pulled the ball back from the byline for the onrushing Craig Lynch, who slid in and got a good connection only to see his effort blocked right on the line.

Sunderland were denied again at close quarters two minutes later as Louis Laing crossed for Ross Holland, whose shot at the near post was blocked at the last second.

But despite the home side’s pressure, United took the lead 33 minutes in when a powerfully-struck free-kick smashed against the crossbar and rebounded for Walters to tuck the ball home.

The striker was then denied at close range by home goalkeeper Joel Dixon as the visitors went in at the break 1-0 ahead.

Sunderland pulled level on the hour thanks to a neat finish from Moberg Karlsson, who raced onto Agnew’s through-ball to chip the ball over keeper Dan Atkinson.

However, the lead lasted only a minute as Philips took aim from 15 yards and powered an angled shot into the corner of the net.

Back came Sunderland, who came close when Ross Holland fired over after Louis Laing’s cross was half-cleared, while Laing himself went on a mazy run and drew a good one-on-one save from Atkinson.

As the home side pushed for an equaliser, the visitors cashed in eight minutes from time when Walters popped up to score with a powerful low drive from a tight angle.

“I thought it was a decent game of football with two contrasting styles,” Ball said afterwards.

“Leeds had a decent game plan and managed the game well.

“We created more than enough chances to have won comfortably, although they had a few shots which Joel [Dixon] had to save well.

“After getting back to 1-1 it was important not to concede straight away, but unfortunately we did and that changed the momentum very quickly.”

Sunderland: Dixon, Laing, Ferguson, McNamee, Harrison, Agnew (Cartwright, 69), Laidler, Holland (T Robson, 56), Moberg Karlsson (Lawson, 88), Honeyman, Lynch.

Subs not used: Watmore, Beadling, Stryjek.