Sunderland U18 0-1 Newcastle United U18
Sunderland under-18s' disappointing start to the U18 Premier League continued as they were narrowly beaten in the Wear-Tyne derby on Saturday.
The young Black Cats started brightly at the Academy of Light with Jake Hackett and Jack Diamond notching their first notable attempts of the afternoon.
Meanwhile, at the other end, Oliver Pain was on song and made a number of smart saves between the sticks as the game remained goalless at the break.
Newcastle flew out the traps in the second period and within minutes created a flurry of chances before Owen Gallacher broke the deadlock on 55 minutes.
Gallacher put his body on the line, stooped low, and beat Pain to the ball to head home a teasing ball from the left-hand side.
Newcastle were wasteful in their attempts to add to the scoreline but did enough to hold firm and clinch all three points.
Still in search of their first points of the season following three straight defeats, September’s international break proved a welcome chance to digest and reflect on what had been a challenging start for Sunderland.
With the small matter of a mini Wear-Tyne derby to contest with following the return of domestic action, Newcastle arrived on Wearside in optimistic fashion after an unbeaten start to the campaign.
The young Black Cats began the game well and were quick to get on the front foot, Hackett tested the Magpies stopper with an arrowed strike before Diamond sent a thunderous effort whistling over the crossbar.
Newcastle grew into the game but were largely frustrated in the opening 25 minutes as Black Cats skipper Adam Bale and Chris Allan did well to stamp their authority and lead by example.
But eventually the visitors pressure began to tell as they were presented with a flurry of chances, Gallacher tested ‘keeper Pain from the edge of the box firstly, and then a mazy run from Mackenzie Heaney saw him breeze his way into the box before looping his effort over the bar.
The Magpies picked up where they left off at the start of the second period, Pain produced another outstretched save to turn Sean Longstaff’s goal-bound effort round the post. From the resultant set-piece the young Black Cats were caught napping as Pain was again called into action, this time to deny Lewis Gibson’s header.
Newcastle continued to lay siege on Sunderland’s goal and with just over 10 minutes gone in the second period, Gallacher put his body on the line and turned home a teasing ball inside the six-yard box which was whipped in low from the left flank.
Elliott Dickman’s side were valiant in their efforts and responded moments later, Diamond clipped a ball to the back post and invited Hackett to attack it but unfortunately the winger couldn’t keep his header down and it sailed harmlessly over.
The Magpies were wasteful in their attempts to add to the scoreline, a free header missed the target and then an impressive counter attack saw Pain make himself big to pull off a brave stop at the feet of Heaney.
Sunderland looked to get themselves back into the game in the closing stages with the introduction of Sonny Best and Michael Fowler, but chances were few and far between and Newcastle held out to extend their unbeaten start and in the process give Dickman further thoughts to ponder.
Sunderland under-18s starting XI: Pain, Howard, McAughtrie, Young, Hickey, Bale, Diamond (Fowler, 72), Allan, Kimpioka (Best, 68), Hackett, Connelly.
Unused subs: Lilley