Southampton B 1-0 Sunderland AFC U23
Sunderland Under-23s’ final Premier League 2 match of the season ended in slender defeat by Southampton B in front of over 800 fans at St Mary’s Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Thierry Small struck the winning goal 11 minutes from time, in a game where clear-cut chances were at a premium at either end.
The result confirms Sunderland have finished 13th in the PL2 Division 2 table for 2021-22.
Four trialists featured on the day for the young Lads on the South Coast, alongside what was mainly a mixture of first-year professionals and U18 scholars for whom the stepped-up experience will have been vital in recent weeks.
Southampton passed up the two best opportunities of the first half, as Rylee Wright stretched to poke a square pass just wide, and Luke Pearce dragged a shot off target after creating himself space.
One of the Lads’ three starting trialists, playing up top, fired a strike just over the crossbar on the stroke of half-time with a chance to go in ahead at the break.
After Jack Turner had glanced a header wide and Jacob Carney had denied another opportunity, with the Sunderland defence standing firm, their resistance was broken in the 79th minute as Small received the ball from substitute Lewis Payne and fired into the bottom corner.
The Academy will now regroup its Under-23 setup over the summer and start to rebuild ahead of 2022-23.
SUNDERLAND AFC U23: Carney ©; Kachosa, Johnson, Jessup (Fieldson 84’), Bainbridge; Sohna, Scott; Trialist A (Gyimah 67’), Kelly, Trialist B; Trialist C (Trialist D 67’).
Subs not used: Bond.