Sunderland U18s 2-3 Blackburn Rovers U18s
Sunderland under-18s fell to a 3-2 defeat at the hands of Blackburn Rovers at the Academy of Light as their four-game unbeaten run came to an end.
The Black Cats got their noses in front 10 minutes in through Cole Kiernan’s close-range finish, only for Jack Vale’s strike to level the scores at the start of the second half.
Rovers took the lead 12 minutes after the restart through Isaac Whitehall’s low driven finish, before making it three via Daniel Pike’s defected shot.
Kiernan’s penalty moments later halved the deficit, but the hosts couldn’t find a late equalizer despite late pressure.
Rovers were the side who threatened to score first as Vale cut in from the right wing and fired straight into the arms of goalkeeper Adam Cameron.
Sunderland’s attention to finishing in training paid off early on however as they converted their first chance of the afternoon, Connor Slack being found by Sonny Best on the right-wing before sending in a low cross for Kiernan to side foot into an unguarded net.
The hosts endured a minor scare shortly after taking the lead when Luke Brennan intercepted the ball close to goal - but fortunately for the hosts Cameron was on hand to block his goal bound effort.
The remainder of the first half turned into a more subdued affair with Kiernan seeing a 20-yard shot deflect a few yards wide in the only remaining opportunity.
The second 45 sparked into life within seconds of the restart however, and Best could have made it two as he cut into the area only to send the following shot over the bar.
The Black Cats were made to rue that chance moments later as Vale latched on to a long ball in behind the defence before placing past the on-rushing Cameron and into the far corner to equalise
Bryson’s side acted quickly in an attempt to restore their one-goal buffer and Best was given the opportunity from Andrias Edmundsson’s cross-field ball, but the winger couldn’t generate the necessary power at the near post as Rovers ‘keeper Jordan Eastham saved.
The visitors had other ideas however, taking the lead for the first time in the game as Whitehall twisted and turned on the edge of the box before firing low into the bottom corner.
The sucker punch rocked Sunderland, but they remained positive, coming close to equalising from a corner as Rayed Derbali headed wide at the far post.
But Blackburn made it three through a slice of good fortune as Pike’s 15-yard effort deflected into the top corner, leaving Cameron helpless.
The hosts were handed a lifeline from 12 yards moments later as a penalty was awarded following George Wilson’s shirt pull on Kiernan, who sent Eastham the wrong way from the spot.
Best almost made it three-all shortly after the restart as he was slid in by Slack at the near post, but the Blackburn stopper reacted to block from close range.
Despite their late pressure, the hosts couldn’t find an equaliser and saw their four-game unbeaten run come to an end.
Sunderland: Cameron, Smith (Kennedy, 73’) , Howard, Edmundssson (c), Derbali, Ord (Miller, 66’) , Slack, Scothern, Kiernan, Best, Leonard (Lilley, 66’) .
Subs: Patterson, Compper.