West Bromwich Albion U23 3-1 Sunderland U23
Jamie Soule scored twice as Sunderland under-23s fell to their first defeat in four matches this evening at West Bromwich Albion.
Soule scored a goal in each half, either side of Lee Connelly’s close-range finish, to ensure all three points before Rayhaan Tulloch netted a stoppage-time third for Albion.
Unbeaten in their last three matches in all competitions, Sunderland under-23s travelled to face West Bromwich Albion riding high on the crest of a wave. Connelly, who had scored five goals in his last three matches, led the line once more while 17-year-old duo Bali Mumba and Dan Neil occupied the middle of the park for Elliott Dickman’s side.
Despite seeing plenty of the ball in the opening stages, it was the hosts who hit the front inside 11 minutes. Soule was swiftly onto Morgan Rogers’ assist to knock the ball beyond Max Johnstone.
Tulloch then flashed a low ball across the face of Sunderland’s goal, but Soule was wasteful as his side-footed effort ballooned over the bar.
And the Black Cats struck back to punish the host for that missed, as Connelly then kept up his fine run of form to bag his sixth goal in his last four matches shortly before the midway point in the opening 45.
Neil drew a good stop from Albion’s Alex Palmer, but the ‘keeper could only parry the fierce strike into the path of Connelly and the striker did what he’s done best lately and tucked the ball away.
The Baggies roared back, though. Brandon Taylor conceded a penalty as he brought down Rogers. However, the 16-year-old failed to dispatch his spot-kick before Swedish youth international Benji Kimpioka put the ball in the net – after further good work from Connelly - at the other end only to see his effort chalked off for offside.
After the midway interval, Albion took control as Tulloch cracked the woodwork before Soule netted his second of the evening in the 63rd minute.
The striker met George Harmon’s whipped cross and did enough to nod it beyond Johnstone in the Sunderland goal.
Bali Mumba warmed Palmers gloves in an attempt to get the Lads back into the fixture, but in the end Albion had enough to bring Sunderland’s three-game winning run to an end as Tulloch rounded off the scoring deep into stoppage time.
West Bromwich Albion U23: Palmer, Solanke, Ferguson, Melbourne, Gardner-Hickman, Wilding, Azaz, Harmon, Rogers, Soule (Asomugha, 83), Tulloch
Subs: Healy, Pierce, Brown, Martinez
Sunderland U23: Johnstone, Hunter, Young, Taylor, Evans (Bainbridg,, 72), Mumba, Neil, Connolly (Kokolo, 83), Diamond, Kimpioka, Connelly
Subs: Slack, Cameron, Leonard