Sunderland U18 2-1 Liverpool U18
Sunderland earned a thoroughly deserved three points on Saturday, beating third place Liverpool by a solitary goal at the Academy of Light.
The win doesn't lift the young Black Cats off the bottom of the table but it does close the gap on fellow struggler's Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Liverpool, having gone 13 games undefeated prior to this game, looked odds on favourites to win but a resilient home side thought otherwise.
The game kicked off in horrendous conditions, a strong North-Easterly wind brought in sleet and rain, but this didn't seem to affect the teams with both sides going close in the opening minutes.
It was the visitors who made the breakthrough in the 11th minute when Simmonds fed Millar in the area to slot home.
Not to be deterred, the hosts hit back in the following minute with a free-kick on the edge of the area after Jordan Hickey was sent tumbling. Chris Allan then hit the resultant set-piece into the top corner of the net to draw the lad’s level.
Wave after wave of attack continued to crash against Liverpool’s backline before Lee Connelly thought he had given the Black Cats the lead when his curled effort was ruled offside.
The hosts did get a second, though, in the 38th minute when a goalmouth scramble saw Reds’ keeper Williams make two good saves, only for ben Kimpioka to fire home at the third attempt.
The second half was similar to the first with both teams pressing and going close, Allan struck the post having beaten the keeper on 55 minutes before the lads did well to close the game out and secure an impressive three points.
Sunderland coach Mark Atkinson said post-match: "It was really horrendous conditions out there today.
The lads showed some real character, we talked about last week’s game, slipping up in the last few minutes and we were determined to make sure we played until the final whistle."
Sunderland: Pattinson, Gamble, Krushnell, Hickey, Taylor, Young, Kimpioka (Best 67), Alla, Diamond, Hackett, Lee Connelly (Jack Connolly 75).
Subs not used: Woud, Howard
Liverpool: B Williams, N Williams, Lewis, R Williams, Johnston, Coyle, Simmonds (Longstaff 68), Jones (Shariff 45), Millar, Dhanda (McAuley 75), Adekanye.