Carl Lawson

Development squad in friendly action

by Stuart Vose

Under-21's narrowly defeated at Birmingham.

Birmingham City U21 3 Sunderland U21 2

A young Sunderland development squad side suffered a narrow 3-2 defeat at Birmingham in a friendly in the Midlands.

A strong City outfit featuring a host of first-team players opened up a three-goal lead, but Sunderland kept going and almost came away with a share of the spoils.

Birmingham took the lead through an own goal early on and Andy Shinnie made it 2-0 at the break before Dariusz Dudka found the back of the net.

Both sides made changes and Sunderland responded well, reducing the arrears when George Honeyman converted a cross from substitute Duncan Watmore.

And Carl Lawson (pictured) then brought the visitors to within a goal, producing a good finish after getting on the end of David Ferguson's delivery.

The visitors created a number of other opportunities but couldn't pull level, with coach Kevin Ball left with plenty of positives.

“It was a big learning curve for us today, especially in the first half when Birmingham were very strong,” he said.

“That highlighted things the players need to work on as individuals and collectively.

“It was more of a match in the second half – both teams made changes and we won the second half when it was more of an under-21's game.

“It's probably the biggest 'game of two halves' I've known. It was difficult in the first half but we gave a good account of ourselves in the second.

“We created more than enough chances to have overturned the deficit and won the match, so I was really pleased from that point of view.”

Sunderland: Stryjek, Laing, Ferguson, McNamee, Beadling, Agnew (T Robson, 65), Holland, Laidler (Lynch, 55), Lawson, Honeyman, Moberg Karlsson (Watmore, 46).