Youngsters lose at Liverpool

by David Pilkington

Late goal dents youngsters' play-off hopes.

Sunderland’s under-18 side went down 1-0 to their Liverpool counterparts in the Barclays U18 Premier League on Saturday afternoon.

16-year-old Adam Phillips bagged a 90th minute winner for the Reds in a tight affair played in difficult conditions on Merseyside.

The young Black Cats dominated throughout and had their best opportunity on 18 minutes when Ethan Robson seized upon a loose ball and sped through on goal, but shot wide as he entered the area.

At the other end, Seyi Ojo tucked inside for Ryan Kent, who shifted onto his left and lashed a shot across the face of goal, but Maksymilian Stryjek was able to collect.

Phillips then provided an opportunity for Harry Wilson, though young Sunderland defender Josh Robson was across to block.

Liverpool keeper Ryan Fulton then denied both Lynden Gooch and Andrew Nelson in quick succession as the young Black Cats’ strike partnership looked to break the deadlock.

As the game entered the final minute the Reds Ojo floated out wide to O'Hanlon, who clipped into the middle for Phillips and he was brave enough to lunge low and turn the ball home.

Sunderland thought they had levelled in injury time, but the goal was controversially ruled out.

The young Black Cats lost ground on Manchester City and Everton in the race for a play-off place, though coach Carlton Fairweather was pleased with the youngsters’ performance.

"I thought the lads were fantastic today,” Fairweather said. “The Liverpool side must have cost them somewhere in the region of £1million and I think we were the better side.

“We got the ball down well, created opportunities, but paid the price for our poor finishing.

“If you look at the Liverpool players’ reaction to our disallowed goal you will see why I think we were robbed."

Sunderland: Stryjek, J Robson, T Robson, Ledger, Beadling, Greenwood, Smith (Wright, 75), E Robson, Pybus, Nelson, Gooch.

Subs not used: McCarthy, McEvoy