Sunderland U23s lost in uninspiring fashion this afternoon, going down 1-0 against a Ricky Sbragia-led Manchester United at the Eppleton Colliery Welfare ground.
A second half penalty from Demetri Mitchell following a foul in the area from Owen Gamble was all that separated the sides, leaving Elliott Dickman’s team bottom of the league as we head into November.
Here’s how the match went, and how the Lads rated.
The opening interval began uneventfully - and evidently it would prove to start as it meant to go on.
Sunderland kept possession all to themselves for the first five or so minutes, with Adam Bale, Brandon Taylor and Owen Gamble exchanging passes as they waited for an attacking movement to present itself - any offensive motion was broken down relatively easily by United, however.
The first glimmer of a chance came when United’s ‘keeper Kieran O’Hara failed to catch a dangerous ball from a corner, but unfortunately Sunderland didn’t have a man at the far post to capitalise on the error, and the cross floated away harmlessly.
The opposition could’ve had their first sight on goal only minutes later. Adam Bale mis-kicked his clearance of a United free-kick, but luckily the visitors couldn’t take such an advantage either.
United would have the first real opportunity to go ahead when Callum Whelan and Tosin Kehinde wove their ways forward and linked up in the box with a couple of searching passes back and forth, the eventual shot from Kehinde, however, was gathered comfortable by the lads’ ‘stopper Michael Woud.
The visitors started applying the pressure from then onward with a few more offensive maneuvers - a sitter from Boonan which was skyed over the bar being the most threatening of those.
But nothing came of them, and the first half would ultimately end with either side unable to find the net.
Half Time: Sunderland U23s 0-0 Manchester United U23s
73' Eyes on the ball! pic.twitter.com/yedtKTaJNc— Sunderland AFC (@SunderlandAFC) October 29, 2017
The stalemate wouldn’t last too long after the restart. Three minutes into the second half right-back Owen Gamble brought his man down in the box with a rash challenge, awarding a penalty to the opposition, which Demetri Mitchell converted to put United ahead.
The goal seemed to ignite what was hitherto a somewhat ineffective Sunderland side, as the lads started to ramp up their momentum.
Second-half substitute Jack Diamond tried his luck with a long range effort which sailed over, and Gamble tried to avenge his conceded penalty by racing through to latch onto a dangerous cross from Denver Hume - only for O’Hara to intervene and palm the goalbound shot away.
Despite Sunderland’s best efforts, the oppositions slender lead didn’t look endangered. United contained the Black Cats’ well and saw out the game without any further threat themselves.
The match would end with the opposition emerging victorious by a goal to nil - it was a relatively uninspiring performance from both sides.
Full Time: Sunderland U23s 0 - 1 Manchester United U23s (Mitchell 49’)
Michael Woud, 6/10: Didn’t come under fire too often and dealt with the efforts that did come his way. Nothing he could’ve done about the visitors’ goal.
Owen Gamble, 5/10: A rash challenge which ultimately handed the game to United tarnished an otherwise decent performance.
Denver Hume, 6/10: Got forward well.
Adam Bale, 6/10: Decent enough. Played out quite well from the back.
Brandon Taylor, 6/10: Also solid, didn’t quite offer as much going forward.
Tom Beadling, 6/10: Made a great tackle towards the end of the first half to break down a United offensive, was alright otherwise.
Luke Molyneux, 7/10: Looked lively. Sunderland admittedly didn’t threaten much, but when they did Molyenux was often involved.
Ethan Robson, 6/10: Kept things ticking over.
Joel Asoro, 5/10: Tried a few mazy runs but was found out far too easily.
Elliot Embleton, 5/10: Positive in intent but didn’t really do much
Rees Greenwood, 5/10: See above.
(SUB) Tommy Robson, 6/10: Steered the ship, didn’t do anything too significant.
(SUB) Jack Diamond, 7/10: Engineered a lot of attacks, and was one of the main reasons we looked more threatening in the second half.
(SUB) Jake Hackett, 5/10: Didn’t really make an impact.
Man of the Match: Luke Molyneux.