U23 match report: Kokolo and Diamond strike to secure win

Sunderland U23 2-0 Charlton Athletic U23 

Sunderland under-23s got their Premier League Cup campaign off to a flying start this evening as they breezed past Charlton Athletic.

In a game which was hampered by strong winds, a moment of magic from both Williams Kokolo and Jack Diamond proved to be the difference at Eppleton Colliery Welfare tonight, to hand the Lads three points in their opening group A match.

Having endured a difficult run in the league so far this campaign, the young Black Cats turned their attentions to their Premier League Cup campaign as the Addicks came to town for the opening group A clash.

However, there was little quality on offer in the opening 45, neither team mustered much as the wind caused havoc at Hetton-Le-Hole.

With much of the half played out in the middle of the park, it was no surprise that the swirling breeze played its part in the opening goal as Sunderland seized advantage with 36 played.

Jake Hackett drilled a through ball beyond the reach of the Charlton defender’s outstretched leg. Kokolo waltzed onto it as his pace got him beyond his opponent, and he showed a calmness in such strong winds that saw the Lads take control of the tie. 

Charlton though, fought back and immediately drew a stop from Max Johnstone as Wilberforce Ocran saw his effort kept out by the stopper’s foot as he moved towards the near post to receive an intricate pull-back. 

But an Addicks comeback didn’t continue after the break as Sunderland took full control, with Diamond blazing one in from distance with 56 played.

Playing in a No.9 role, the striker controlled with his right before arrowing a blistering strike beyond Ashley Maynard-Brewer into the top corner.

Charlton came on strong in the closing stages, Terrique Anderson forcing a save from Johnstone before strong appeals that the ball had gone over the line from the resultant corner were dismissed. 

But for all their pressure, the Lads remained strong at the back to secure victory and a clean sheet in their opening Premier League Cup tie.

Sunderland U23: Johnstone, Gamble, Hunter (Taylor, 76), Connolly, Storey, Young, Connelly, Hackett (Bale, 81), Diamond (Kiernan, 79), Neil, Kokolo

Subs:  Patterson, Bainbridge.

Charlton Athletic U23: Maynard-Brewer, Barton, Zemura, Dempsey, Cummings, Blumberg, Sarpong-Wiredu, Anderson (French, 81), Ocran, Carey, Doughty

Subs: Mascoll Osaghe, Vennings, Isiaka

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