A five-star performance from Sunderland U18s ensured safe passage into the fourth round of the FA Youth Cup beating Middlesbrough U18s at the Stadium of Light.
Adding to an early own goal, goals from Luke Bell, Josh Robertson, Fin Geragusian and a Tommy Watson penalty sealed the win on Wearside.
With both sides getting a feel for the game having early spells of possession, Watson’s quality shone through with a burst of pace to beat his man to the byline. Even with a slice of fortune, his deflected cross looped over the goalkeeper to give the Lads a 14th minute lead at the Stadium of Light.
His attacking prowess was on show again minutes later as a well-worked move found Watson in the box again. His low strike but the keeper but not defender Alfie Myers-Smith who scooped his effort over the crossbar.
The Lads kept up the pressure and broke through on the half-hour mark, doubling their lead when a wicked dead-ball from Josh Robertson was met by the head of captain Luke Bell who powered home for 2-0.
The outstanding first half was complete when Watson’s cutback from the left was initially blocked before the ball fell to Robertson who lashed the ball beyond Connor for the third at the SoL.
Just before the hour-mark, the Lads cut through the Boro defence before Tom Lavery’s low cross found Watson at the back post with the winger inches away from adding to his tally hitting just wide of the post.
Boro fired back in the second half with a goal back as Finlay Cartwright found space inside the box and lashed the ball high into the net.
The away side gave the Lads more to think about and hit back with a second. A breakaway from the halfway line was finished by Charlie Lennon who found the bottom corner with his low effort inside the box.
The home side rallied round and Ben Creamer found room in the box with a well-worked one-two with Ogunsuyi only to see his low drive well held by Connor.
Despite Boro's second-half response, the result was ensured when Watson was felled in the 18 year box resulting in a penalty that the menacing winger tucked away into the bottom left corner.
A special night was capped off when Geragusian latched onto a scramble in the box to force the ball over the line for a fifth goal.
Finnbarr Lynch’s side now face a fourth round tie against either Oxford United or Gillingham, with that tie being played next week.
Goals: OG 14, Bell 32’ Robertson 39’; Cartwright 67’ Lennon 76’
Sunderland U18s XI: Young; Lavery, Holfcroft, Bell ©, Ja.Jones; Je Jones (Sekete 67’), Robertson (Mitchell 89’), Rigg; Creamer, Watson, Ogunsuyi (Geragusian 89’)
Subs not used: Cameron, Chung, Obolo, Neild
Boro U18s XI: Connor; Patterson, Acheampong (McPartland 45’), Samuels, Hamelburg, Myers-Smith; Coulson (Simpson 70’), McCabe, Lennon; Cartwright, Patterson-Powell
Subs not used: James, Dore, Grant, Parker, Wilson