A first-half onslaught from Sunderland’s Under-23s earned the team a 3-1 win over Sheffield United on Tuesday afternoon, in a behind-closed-doors friendly at the Academy of Light.
Benji Kimpioka grabbed the headlines with a pair of tidy one-on-one finishes, either side of Cieran Dunne emphatically scoring directly from a corner kick.
Andre Brookes pulled one back for the Blades late on, in a lively affair on Wearside.
Elliott Dickman’s side spent the majority of the first half well on top against Paul Heckingbottom’s team, and went in front nine minutes in, as Kimpioka pulled away from his marker and found yards of space in the 18-yard box, knocking a confident finish high into the far corner.
And shortly after Josh Hawkes cannoned a shot off the crossbar, Cieran Dunne took advantage of the blustery conditions and sent a direct corner kick spiralling into the net for 2-0.
The Lads were not done there, as on the stroke of half-time Kimpioka timed his run to perfection for another one-on-one, again making no mistake with a side-footed effort into the net.
Sheffield United considerably improved in the second half, and some astute defending from the Lads restricted the visitors’ clear-cut chances.
A number of substitutes entered the fray around the hour mark for Dickman’s team, with plenty of players getting some match action.
United’s Brookes found himself through on Anthony Patterson’s goal nine minutes from time, side-footing low into the net for a consolation strike.
Sunderland: Patterson, Taylor, Dunne, Wilding, Almond, Younger, Wombwell, Trialist, Kimpioka, Hawkes, Trialist.
Subs: Curry, Bond, Harris, Beaumont, Taylor, Wearne.