FA Youth Cup report: Lads advance to the third round

Sunderland U18 4-1 Oldham Athletic U18

Sunderland under-18s ensured safe passage to the FA Youth Cup third round with a 4-1 win over Oldham Athletic at Eppleton CW.

The Black Cats took the lead after 18 minutes with Connor Slack finishing off a patient attacking move, before Dan Neil doubled the advantage instantly after the restart.

The visitors halved the deficit 55 minutes in when Declan Baldwin’s corner deflected into the back of the net, before Ryan Leonard’s second of the competition restored the hosts’ two-goal lead ten minutes later. 

Slack’s second of the evening added gloss to the final scoreline with 16 minutes remaining before being denied a hat-trick from the penalty spot by goalkeeper Ellis Allen at the death -nevertheless Sunderland set-up a third-round tie away to Everton on December 15. 

Paul Bryson made two changes to the side that defeated Halifax Town 1-0 in the first round, bringing in Sonny Best and Ryan Gooch in place of Bali Mumba and Sean Kennedy.

Oldham goalkeeper Ellis Allen was forced into action six minutes in, reacting quickly to parry Connor Slack’s effort at the near-post as the hosts started brightly.

Sunderland saw little reply from Oldham in the opening 20 minutes, and grabbed their first goal of the game in the 18th minute via Slack.

The Black Cats took their time in possession on the edge of the area before Neil’s incisive ball in behind the defence found the on-rushing Slack, who placed into the far corner to hand his side a deserved lead.

Not content with a single-goal advantage, Sunderland added a second shortly after kick-off as provider turned goalscorer – this time Neil latched onto Gooch’s through ball before rifling past Allen to make it two.

Harry Ord came close to putting Sunderland three ahead before the break as he capitalised on Javid Swarby-Nevin’s mishit clearance inside the area, only to fire a few yards wide on the turn.

Ten minutes into the second half however, Oldham pulled one back to leave the tie hanging in the balance.

Baldwin’s in-swinging corner caused trouble in the Sunderland box and Cameron’s attempted punch only helped the ball on its way into the far corner to hand the visitors a lifeline. 

Ten minutes later however, it was the Black Cats who were celebrating once again as Leonard restored their two-goal lead, drifting into the box before accelerating away from two Oldham defenders and lifting over Allen at the near post.

Leonard turned provider in the 74th minute, latching onto Tom Scothern’s 40-yard cross-field ball before playing a left-sided cross back into the area for the on-rushing Slack, who placed into the far corner to put the result beyond all doubt.

Slack had the chance to make it five from the penalty spot in the game’s final moments after he was fouled by Swarby-Nevin, but was denied his hat-trick by a fine save from Allen with the whistle blowing shortly afterwards. 

Sunderland XI: Cameron; Evans, Edmundsson, Ord (Derbali, 78’), Howard; Scothern, Neil, Best (Bell, 58’); Slack, Leonard, Gooch (Devine, 85’).

Subs: Basey, Lilley.

Oldham Athletic XI: Allen; Swarby-Nevin, Hackett (Leech, 79), Gaskell (Pickford, 69’), Norris, Grundy, Baldwin, Sherrif (Amankwaa, 46’), Norman, Scholes-Beard, Williams.

Subs: Wych, Jones.

Booked: Neil (70’)

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