Newcastle United U21 1-1 SAFC U21
Goalkeeper Alex Bass incredibly scored a last-gasp equaliser for Sunderland Under-21s on Monday night to earn a dramatic point in a feisty Wear-Tyne Derby against Newcastle United at St. James’ Park.
The stopper came forward for a late corner to score the first goal of his career, after Joe White gave the hosts a first-half lead.
Jay Turner-Cooke was dismissed against his former side in the second half following an altercation with Bass, as a loud and proud pocket of Sunderland supporters return to Wearside in amazement.
A handful of first-teamers again started the contest, as Jay Matete captained the side. Bass, Abdoullah Ba and Niall Huggins were all named in the XI alongside Ellis Taylor, whose loan conditions with Hartlepool United allow him to feature for his parent club in U21 competition.
Jewison Bennette was also given 45 minutes on the night, coming on for the second half.
The Lads created the first chance and perhaps should have done better, as Zak Johnson was just unable to direct his unmarked header from Taylor’s outswinging corner delivery just four minutes in.
Bass was then on hand to make two routine saves to deny Niall Brookwell and White, before turning Joshua Scott’s strike round the post.
But the home side did take the lead just after the half-hour mark, as White found space to cut inside and hit a fierce shot from close range, which found the roof of the net despite the hand of Bass.
The closest chances Sunderland would muster in the first half both fell to Nathan Newall, getting forward from left-back. A powerful drive was first fired wide, before Newall forced Jude Smith into a save after meeting Huggins’ cross to the back post.
The second half saw the game bring some bite, with a flurry of cards being issued by referee Aaron Bannister. Turner-Cooke was issued a second yellow late on, after coming together with Bass as he looked to clear the ball upfield.
Chances continued as the Lads pushed, as Harry Gardiner and Taylor both came close with the latter seeing a shot deflect inches past the post, after Smith had thwarted Gardiner.
And it was worth the wait in the fourth minute of added time, as Bass – who had been forward for a succession of corners – won his header from Bennette’s pinpoint corner, it ricocheted off the post and bounced back into the net off him inside the six-yard area for the most dramatic of endings.
The goal hero’s focus was put to the test in the dying seconds, making a crucial diving save to his left to deny Newcastle an even later winner as the points were shared in remarkable fashion.
SAFC U21: Bass; Huggins, Johnson, Crompton, Newall; Matete © (Burke 65’), Ba (Bennette 46’); Spellman (Kachosa 90’), Taylor, Gardiner; Thompson.
Subs not used: Richardson, Jessup.