George Honeyman

Youngsters defeat Gateshead in friendly


Honeyman double sinks Skrill Premier side.

Sunderland U21 4 Gateshead 2

Sunderland’s development squad ran out 4-2 winners against Skrill Premier outfit Gateshead on Tuesday afternoon in a behind-closed-doors friendly at the Academy of Light.

George Honeyman scored twice from the penalty spot for the hosts whilst former Sunderland youth Reece Noble twice diverted into his own goal.

James Brown and Liam Hatch scored for the Heed, who included four former Black Cats in their starting line-up.

The visitors were ahead after just two minutes as Brown headed Marcus Maddison’s cross home at the near post.

Craig Lynch, who started his first game this campaign, went close to equalising for the hosts but dragged his shot wide after being played in by Honeyman.

Honeyman then went close to finding the equaliser but the Prudhoe-born midfielder shot wide from 25 yards.

Joel Dixon made a smart low save to deny Brown his second before the Black Cats, urged on by coach Ball, upped the ante.

Louis Laing, playing his first 90 minutes of the campaign, went close when he broke from midfield to crash a low drive towards the bottom corner only for a sharp save from Alex Baird to deny him.

And, from the resulting corner, Lynch curled just wide from the corner of the box as the hosts pushed for an equaliser.

The Black Cats did level on the half-hour as Honeyman was felled in the area by former Sunderland defender Dan Smith before getting up to convert the spot-kick into the bottom left-hand corner of Baird’s goal.

And the hosts were ahead after just three second-half minutes when Carl Lawson and Honeyman linked up well before the former’s shot was deflected over the line by Noble.

Honeyman continued to be a thorn in the Heed’s defence and he went close to his second when played in by Adam Mitchell but, after cutting onto his left foot, he shot straight at Baird.

Mitchell himself had a glorious opportunity to double Sunderland’s advantage when he broke in behind Noble from Tom McNamee’s long ball but failed to beat Baird when one-on-one with the Australian keeper.

Gateshead equalised on 65 minutes as Smith’s cross was flicked on by Adam Boyes before Hatch nodded into the top corner beyond Dixon.

It took just ten minutes for Sunderland to regain the lead as substitute Liam Marrs cut back for Lynch, who saw his shot deflected over his own line by Noble.

Honeyman sealed the win in the closing stages as Mitchell closed down Heed keeper Baird and forced the stopper to bring him down inside the area before Honeyman smashed down the middle to grab his second goal of the game.

Sunderland: Dixon (Burke, 83), Cartwright (Ferguson, 15 (Marrs, 70)), Harrison, McNamee, Egan, Laing, Holland, Mitchell, Lynch, Lawson, Honeyman.