Sunderland U23s 2-3 Middlesbrough U23
Sunderland under-23s slipped to a narrow 3-2 defeat at the hands of Middlesbrough on Monday in the Premier League 2 at Eppleton CW.
First-half penalties from Benji Kimpioka and then Boro’s Stephen Walker meant the sides were level at the break.
But a further penalty from Walker and a goal from Rumarn Burrell gave Boro a two-goal cushion with Lee Connelly’s goal eight minutes from time merely a consolation.
Elliot Dickman included January signings Laurens De Bock and Joel Lynch in his starting XI for the Wear-Tees derby, with the pair making their first outing in red and white.
The visitors started the brightest of the sides and created the first opportunity when Nathan Wood headed inches wide after good work from Sam Folarin down the Boro right.
Sunderland quickly settled into the game though and created their first chance on 15 minutes when Jake Hackett fired wide from 20-yards.
The pressure paid off for the Black Cats when they were awarded a penalty midway through the first half after Connelly was fouled. Kimpioka stepped up and slotted calmly into the bottom left corner, sending the ‘keeper the wrong way.
Boro equalised with a penalty of their own in first-half stoppage time when Brandon Taylor brought down Isaiah Jones, who was bearing down on goal. Walker made no mistake from the spot, sending the ball down the middle.
The visitors then took the lead in the 50th minute after being awarded their second penalty of the game. Walker doubled his tally with another clinical spot kick.
Boro had a two-goal cushion to hang on to just over ten minutes later when substitute, Burrell converted a low cross from close range.
Sunderland responded less than ten minutes from time through Connelly, who bundled the ball home after a scramble in the Boro six-yard box.
Sunderland went agonisingly close to an equaliser just moments later when Connelly stung the palms of Zach Hemming, but it wasn’t enough for the young Black Cats who fell to a narrow defeat.
Sunderland U23: Patterson, Mumba, Taylor, Lynch (Bainbridge 60), De Bock, Sammut, Dunne, Neil (Kokolo 65), Hackett (Gamble 78), Connelly, Kimpioka. Subs not used: Abdelkader, Greenwood
Middlesbrough U23: Hemming, Dodds, Wood, Dale, Reading, Malley, Hackney, Folarin (Spence 78), Wearne, Jones, Walker (Burrell 60). Subs not used: Robinson, Hood