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SAFC U23s 0-2 Swansea U23s: Maja steps up fitness as youngsters lose - Player Ratings & Report

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Despite Josh Maja completing an hour on his comeback from injury he featured on the losing side this afternoon at Eppleton CW, with Swansea leaving the North East with a comfortable 2-0 win. Here’s how it went, and how the lads rated.

Livingston v Sunderland - Pre Season Friendly
Josh Maja completed an hour for the U23s this afternoon at Eppleton CW.
Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

Sunderland U23s 0-2 Swansea U23s

Sunderland U23s lost two-nil this afternoon to Swansea City at the Eppleton CW ground without really mustering up any sort of threat to their opponents.

Two goals from Oli McBurnie - a penalty at the end of the first half and then another right at the end of the game - condemned Sunderland to their first defeat of November as the month draws to a close.

Despite performing fairly well in the first period the Mackems were unable to follow it up in the second, and the defeat leaves Elliott Dickman’s side down near the foot of the table after eleven games played.


Sunderland XI: Stryjek, J Robson, Hume, Bale, Taylor, Beadling, Molyneux, E Robson, Nelson, Maja, Embleton. Subs: Storey, Talbot, Diamond, Allan, Greenwood.

Swansea City XI: Zabret, Reid, Lewis, Evans, Harries, Rodon, Garrick, King, McBurnie, Byers, Gorre. Subs: Cooper, Maric, Thomas, Cullen, Blair


Match Action

First Half

In a scrappy first forty-five, neither side created many clear cut chances.

Swansea began on the front foot with their pacey number seven Garrick seeing plenty of the ball, but thankfully a very impressive defensive performance from left-back Denver Hume meant his threat was nullified, with the defender not giving his wide man an inch.

Swansea’s Oli McBurnie caused centre half pairing Tom Beadling and Brandon Taylor problems, but was restricted to half chances as the Swans looked the more likely to get the first goal in the opening twenty minutes.

It took until the 27th minute before the Lads had a meaningful attempt on goal, with England under-19 international Elliot Embleton blasting over the bar after some good passing play by our midfield.

This seemed to spring the Lads into action and the exceptional Denver Hume twice got down the byline to dig out some fantastic crosses - Josh Robson failed to get the ball out of his feet to convert the first delivery, and then Luke Molyneux was unable to get a good connection with his head just minutes before half time.

Just as the half was coming to an end, Swansea’s Kenji Gorre was clumsily fouled by central defender Brandon Taylor, resulting in a penalty which Scotland under-21s striker Oli McBurnie converted, sending Max Stryjek the wrong way.

Half time: SAFC Under 23s 0-1 Swansea Under 23s

Swansea City v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League
Oli McBurnie put Swansea into a first half lead from the spot.
Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Second Half

Elliott Dickman’s side showed more battle and determination in the second half - but the game continued in a similar vein as the first forty-five.

A scrappy second period yielded few chances as Swansea goalscorer Oli McBurnie continued to cause problems at the other end. He brought some good reflex saves out of big Polish ‘keeper Max Stryjek midway through the first half but, truth be told, the second half was about more industry than quality - sadly for the lads, nothing came from it despite their efforts.

The best chance of the second period came from the introduction of Rees Greenwood, as he neatly played in fellow substitute Jack Diamond who shot straight at Gregor Zabret from 15 yards out when he really should have done better.

A red card was shown to Swansea defender Harries late in the second period for a second bookable offence, a foul on Andrew Nelson proving to be one too many for the referee, but the one man advantage didn’t help the young Black Cats to a late equaliser and instead it seemed to galvanise the Welsh youngsters - Garrick hitting the inside of the post after a defensive error, before McBurnie grabbed his second of the match in the fifth minute of injury time meaning that the under 23s succumbed to a drab 0-2 defeat.

It was a fairly poor all-round performance from the Mackems, one which they’ll look to forget quickly as they focus on their upcoming game in the Premier League Cup against Hull City on Thursday night.

Full Time: Sunderland U23s 0-2 Swansea City U23s


Player Ratings

Max Styjek - 6/10: Commanded his box well enough - didn’t have a great deal to do, despite being on the losing side.

Denver Hume - 7/10: Had an good game. Stopped the threat of Garrick well and also got in some great crosses down the left hand side. Quieter second half.

Tom Beadling - 5/10: Better than his defensive partner, but still struggled with Swansea’s attackers.

Brandon Taylor: 4/10: Gave away a silly penalty and never looked comfortable all afternoon - a shame after playing so well last week against Leicester.

Josh Robson: 4/10: Wasted a good opportunity in the first half whilst it was still goalless, looked shaky defensively and didn’t contribute enough in the attacking third for me.

Elliot Embleton - 6/10: Another good performance. Always positive going forward, just needs to work on that final ball.

Adam Bale - 5/10: Tidy in possession, but would like to see him probe a little bit more.

Luke Molyneux - 4/10: Very quiet. Had one chance but didn’t get a good connection.

Ethan Robson - 4/10: Tidy, but much like Bale, I’d like to have seen him push that Swansea midfield back a little and not play it safe all the time.

Andrew Nelson - 6/10: A good outlet, but nothing much went for him this afternoon. Toiled away though and gave it his all. Worked his knackers off.

Josh Maja - 6/10: He showed glimpses of quality in the hour that he played, but it’s evident he’s still a little short on match fitness. Held it up well and this allowed Embleton room to probe more.

(SUB) Jack Diamond - 5/10: Wasted a good chance by firing straight at the goalkeeper. Couldn’t get himself involved enough.

(SUB) Rees Greenwood - 6/10: Created the best chance of the second half, perhaps should have been on earlier.

(SUB) Chris Allan - 5/10: Not enough time to make an impact after replacing the injured Molyneux.

Man of the Match - Denver Hume: Although he was quiet second half, his first half performance was very impressive both defensively and offensively. Unlucky to be on the losing side.