The boot room at the Academy of Light
U18's see off West Ham
by Neville Pilkington
Smith penalty settles Academy clash.
Sunderland U18 1 West Ham United U18 0
The young Black Cats battled through a difficult match with West Ham United to earn a welcome first win of the season at the Academy of Light.
Sunderland closed down well in a rather quiet opening period but were cut open in the 20th minute when the visitors should have gone ahead.
Hammers striker Jordan Brown could have gone clear but was robbed by a brilliant tackle by Tom Robson who won the ball cleanly to come away and avert the danger.
A rather uneventful half finished with both sides locked in a somewhat tactical stalemate, but it was a different Sunderland performance in the second period.
Lynden Gooch went close with a left footed drive as a midfield of Ethan Robson, Dan Pybus and Martin Smith began to get on top.
The winning goal came from a penalty just after the hour mark awarded when Gooch turned cleverly in the box and burst away to be brought down by West Ham's Amos Nasha.
Referee James Westgate had no doubt in awarding the spot-kick, which Smith tucked away low to the keeper's right.
The hosts stayed on top although the Hammers did have some chances to level which were generally well dealt with.
With time running out, it could have been two as Sunderland broke out well and a low cross from the right flashed across the goal only a yard out with no attacker able to get a touch.
However, it didn't matter as Sunderland closed out the game to secure victory.
Coach Carlton Fairweather said: "Obviously I was delighted with the first win, but we actually played better to get the draws against Arsenal and Fulham - such is the game of football.
“We created well in the second half but could have done better on the break - nevertheless a first win and a clean sheet is very pleasing however it is achieved."
Sunderland: Burke, Ledger (Ellison, 45), T Robson, E Robson, Beadling, Colquhoun, Greenwood, Smith, Stinson (Trialist, 77), Gooch (McEvoy, 80), Pybus.