Training at the Academy of Light

U18s draw in Holland

by Oscar Chamberlain

Greenwood scores in draw on tour.

Sunderland’s U18s capped off their pre-season tour of Holland with an impressive 1-1 draw against AZ Alkmaar.

The Black Cats dominated the first period, opening the scoring via a clever free kick from Rees Greenwood, but a contentious set piece provided the hosts with an opportunity to equalise and they made it count on the stroke of half time.

Speaking post match, coach Elliott Dickman praised the group’s commitment and effort, after sealing a deserved draw in their second match in 24 hours.

“During the first half we played very well, the lads were smashing and the tempo they played at, considering we had a game yesterday, was excellent.

“Our passing quality was also great and we moved the ball well so there were a lot of positives to take from the match.

“Rees Greenwood scored an excellent goal for us, asking the referee if he could take a quick free kick, which he could, before lobbing it over the keeper. It was a great bit of thinking from him.”

He continued: “Unfortunately we were pegged back on the stroke of half time, again the referee gave a free kick, although in my opinion it was an incorrect decision, and despite our goalkeeper making a good save we didn’t react fast enough and they tapped it in.

“Then in the second half it was a big ask for the lads because it was our second match in as many days. We got a little tired and fatigue set in towards the end of the game but we stuck together to seal a good result." 

Dickman continued to praise the spirit within the side, explaining that their togetherness is something that has been developed at the Academy of Light over a number of years.

“Overall the trip has been a very successful one, our second half performance against NAC Breda was very good and the togetherness the lads have show today was excellent.

“During these trips you are in each other's pockets and of course that brings the group closer together, but the team spirit we have is something that has been developed at the Academy from day one."

He added: “They are a great set of lads and they work very hard, so it is good that they are keeping up those habits ahead of the new season.”