U23s Report: Sunderland 1-2 West Ham United

Sunderland U23 1-2 West Ham United U23

Duncan Watmore completed 70 minutes at Eppleton Colliery Welfare on Sunday as Sunderland under-23s were defeated in the Premier League 2 against West Ham United.

The Roadrunner was industrious throughout but unable to prevent Toni Martinez and Martin Samuelsen’s first-half goals which gave the Hammers a comfortable cushion.

Luke Molyneux halved the deficit with 36 minutes played which meant it was all to play for in the second 45.

But while chances were aplenty for the Black Cats as they lay siege to West Ham’s goal, they were unable to make one count.

Here’s how the action unfolded…


Watmore continued his recovery for the Black Cats this afternoon, and lead the line with Molyneux and Rees Greenwood providing support on the flanks. Chris Allan and Adam Bale featured in the heart of the midfield while New Zealand stopper Michael Woud started between the posts.


Elliot Embleton and Duncan Watmore formed quite the partnership in the opening stages as bright sunshine broke through to cover the Hetton ground. Embleton’s craft and vision was complimented perfectly by the tenacious running of Watmore, who pulled away from his man only to be flagged offside as he collected the ball on the edge of the box. The pair continued to link up with real vengeance, only for Watmore’s left-footed touch to run away from him as he looked to pull the trigger inside the box. Molyneux then offered up a spark from the right, getting down his right flank before feeding Watmore who wriggled his past two bodies and then warmed the gloves of Nathan Trott from 12 yards.


The Black Cats were flying and playing with a real swagger in their step as we approached the 20-minute mark. But just as we did, Nathan Holland tested Michael Woud at his near post with a rasping drive – and that proved to be a warning sign that the lads didn’t reaction to as Martinez made the net ripple with the Hammers next attack. A free-flowing move down the right saw Martinez peel away to the back post and as the ball came across West Ham’s No.9 cushioned his free header home. Rees Greenwood looked to summon an immediate response for the Black Cats seconds after the restart, weaving his way past three bodies and then feeding Watmore who won a corner. But for all the lads’ efforts in the final third, West Ham were resolute and moments after testing Woud with another effort the Hammers doubled their lead. Martinez went from finisher to provider, pulling the ball back from the byline and Samuelsen stabbed home with his outstretched left foot.


Sunderland clawed themselves back into the fixture with 36 minutes on the clock, Molyneux danced his way down the right, skipped inside and then drilled a low strike past Trott at his near post to halve the deficit.  The visitors responded brightly, though, and almost restored their two-goal cushion on the stroke of half-time with a powerful header from the lively Martinez.


Watmore returned for the second 45 and it didn’t take long for the Black Cats to gain control as they peppered the Hammers’ goal. Denver Hume lifted a perfectly-weighty ball down the left for Watmore to chase. Watmore was forced wide but his composure saw him pick out Embleton’s darting run, however, Embleton nodded his effort wide. Greenwood continued to ramp up Sunderland’s efforts, crashing a strike against a wall of West Ham bodies before Samuelsen flashed an effort wide at the other end. Chris Allan then stung of the gloves of Trott with a venomous drive from 20 yards before Embleton did the same inside the area.


Watmore departed to a rousing reception from the Eppleton CW crowd on 70 minutes, with combative striker Andrew Nelson coming on in his place. The Black Cats continued to stream forward, Embleton again going close as Trott tipped his thunderous effort into the air and Allan made himself a nuisance as the ball dropped out of the air.  Sonny Best came on in the closing stages, replacing Rees Greenwood, but the Black Cats were unable to muster one final hoorah and West Ham left Wearside with all three points.

Sunderland U23: Woud, Gamble, Hume, Beadling, Taylor (Storey, 45), Molyneux, Bale, Allan, Watmore (Nelson, 70), Embleton, Greenwood (Best, 83).
Subs: Brotherton, Patterson

West Ham U23: Trott, Johnson, Powell, Makasi, Pike, Pask, Samuelsen (Longelo, 61), Diangana, Martinez (Hector-Ingram, 90), Kemp (Scully, 78), Holland.
Subs: Matrevic

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