Fine away win for youngsters

by Neville Pilkington

Under-18s hit three goals without reply at Middlesbrough.

Middlesbrough U18 0 Sunderland U18 3

Sunderland's under-18's notched back-to-back away wins with a victory over rivals Middlesbrough on Teesside.

They started the game at Rockliffe on the front foot, though the early play was very much of the typical derby-style huff and puff nature with lots of pressing from both sides.

The Wearsiders established a grip on the game and took the lead in the 13th minute.

A good pass from Martin Smith found Lynden Gooch, who beat his man and pulled the ball back for Andrew Nelson – making his full debut at this level – to smash home his first goal.

Sunderland were passing the ball well and created several chances, with a second goal duly arriving in the 21st minute.

Ethan Robson and Gooch produced some good interplay, with the latter holding the ball up before laying off for Rees Greenwood (pictured), coming in off the right wing, to bend a shot low into the far corner.

Sunderland went in 2-0 ahead at the break, but the impressive Nelson was forced off early in the second half with a gashed knee and was replaced by Jordan Blinco.

The change didn't interrupt the visitors' free-passing game and they continued to create many opportunities, with Gooch in particular causing problems for the home defence.

Tom Robson could have made it 3-0 when he broke well only for the Boro keeper to make a good save, but Sunderland did go on to notch a third goal on 62 minutes.

Greenwood grabbed his second brace of goals in as many games when he took a good touch to receive a pass from Smith before hammering a shot into the back of the net.

The young Black Cats were peppering the Boro goal, with Tom Robson and Gooch forcing good saves.

Sunderland were awarded a penalty when Tom Robson was pulled down in the box on the break, but the home keeper turned Ethan Robson's penalty around the post for a corner.

The visitors comfortably closed out the game to round off an excellent win, with Academy manager Ged McNamee left delighted.

“We played very well and I was really pleased,” he said. “The players got their rewards with a comprehensive win.”

Sunderland: Talbot, Ellison (Colquhoun, 75), Lowrie (Ledger, 86), Beadling, T Robson, E Robson, Greenwood, Smith, McEvoy, Gooch, Nelson (Blinco, 55).