KEVIN BALL was delighted that Sunderland’s Under-21s “mirrored” their first-team cousins by taking the derby spoils against Newcastle United.
The Black Cats youngsters emerged 2-0 winners over the Magpies at the Stadium of Light last night – just three days after the first-team’s weekend success on Tyneside.
Development coach Ball told the Echo: “I thought the performance of the first-team on Saturday was brilliant and I thought last night we matched it.
“We mirrored what they did.
“I thought we were very professional and created a lot of chances. If anything, I’d probably be a bit critical of wanting to see one or two more.
“We really didn’t give them a sniff. They had a couple of headers from out wide, but all-in-all, I thought we were very good.”
Both sides struggled to create anything clear-cut in a desperately cagey opening 45 minutes.
But Sunderland took the initiative after the break – taking the lead through Jordan Laidler’s penalty and then sealing the victory in stoppage time through a cute finish from Under-18 skipper Martin Smith.
“We said about the tempo in the first half,” added Ball.
“It was one of those games where it was like the first few rounds of a boxing match when you’re waiting to see who does what.
“I thought all of a sudden after half-time, when we had said someone needed to take it by the scruff of the neck and three or four did that.
“They were getting forwards and they all stepped up to the plate.”