The boot room at the Academy of Light

Home point for U18 side

by Neville Pilkington

Ethan Robson penalty cancelled out at Academy of Light.

Sunderland U18 1 Aston Villa U18 1

It was honours even as Sunderland drew 1-1 with Aston Villa in a hard-fought match at the Academy of Light.

Both sides played good passing games in a tight contest which could have gone either way but a draw was probably the fairest result.

Sunderland opened well and in the seventh minute Martin Smith had a drive parried away by Villa keeper Aiden Grant which was subsequently cleared.

Villa's Jerrel Sellars then tested Sunderland keeper Max Stryjek but the Polish goalkeeper easily coped with the effort.

A few minutes later a Lynden Gooch chip was equally dealt with by Villa keeper Grant but in the 39th minute he was beaten by a spot kick which saw Sunderland take the lead.

Striker James Stinson dribbled into the area and was brought down before Ethan Robson, who celebrated his 17th birthday yesterday, made it a double celebration by side-footing home the subsequent penalty low to the keeper's right.

However, the lead only lasted for three minutes before the Midlands side hit back to level. A long diagonal ball from the left by Riccardo Calder was finished off by striker Thomas Strain who came in at the far post to score.

The second period was fiercely contested but Sunderland very nearly regained the lead in the 70th minute.  A 30-yard cross-field pass from the left by Robson found his namesake Josh Robson and the young full back volleyed low across the face of goal.  Striker Stinson came sliding in to miss a certain goal from close range by a whisker.

It was Josh Robson again at the other end who had to head a Harry McCurdie shot for Villa off the line to keep the scores level.

Sunderland coach Carlton Fairweather said: "It was an even game and both sides created plenty of chances.

“We fully deserved to get something from the match because Aston Villa played well and the result shows we can hold our own against worthy clubs such as Villa.”

Sunderland: Stryjek, Ellison (J Robson, 46), Colquhoun, Beadling, T Robson, E Robson, Greenwood, Smith, Stinson (Nelson, 71), Gooch, Blinco (Pybus, 70).