Youngsters win Wear-Tees derby

by David Pilkington

Dan Wright and Martin Smith earn the young Black Cats their first win in four.

Sunderland’s under-18 side got back to winning ways with a well-deserved 2-0 victory over north-east rivals Middlesbrough at the Academy of Light on Saturday morning.

The young Black Cats started the game brightly in very blustery conditions, kicking into the wind.

However, it was the visitors that were the first to threaten as the young Black Cats’ keeper, Peter Burke, had to tip onto the bar after a neat set-piece was volleyed towards goal at the back post.

The hosts were playing much more controlled football, having to keep the ball on the ground as the wind was making long balls difficult.

And the wind played a part in the opening goal as the ball was held up from a Sunderland clearance before Lynden Gooch won the ball in the air and laid the ball out to Dan Wright who lashed a left-footed strike across goal and into the bottom corner.

Boro were pushing for an equaliser using the wind with the long ball forwards, but Sunderland's defence held firm.

In the second half, the young Black Cats seemed to up their tempo and threatened the visitors defence several times before being awarded a penalty in the 75th minute.

Andrew Nelson spun his defender received a push in the back with the referee having no hesitation pointing to the spot.

Martin Smith stepped up to crash home Sunderland's second high to the keeper’s right.

Coach Carlton Fairweather said afterwards: "It was a scrappy game but we got the job done.

“The wind was a big problem; it was quite literally a game of two halves, with us playing much better football in the second half.

“Overall though I thought we deserved the win."

Sunderland: Burke, Ledger, Colquhoun, Beadling, T. Robson (J. Robson, 54), E. Robson, M Smith, Wright, Greenwood, Gooch (Nelson, 70), Blinco (McEvoy, 80).

Sub not used: Pybus.