AFTER holding West Brom to a draw in a home game last Saturday, Sunderland showed who were the better side with a super away performance in the return U18 Premier League game in the Midlands yesterday, writes Neville Pilkington.
Apart from keeper Alex Palmer, the Baggies played the same side that was so dangerous and controlled long periods of the previous game.
But in this match, central defenders Tom McNamee and Jaz Sukar were outstanding along with Ethan Robson in midfield and every other player also contributing hugely for a deserved win.
The Wearsiders dominated the first period and were ahead after only four minutes. James Stinson was put through by Ethan Robson and the striker coolly slotted home.
After staying on top, the young Black Cats doubled the lead in the 27th minute. Nathan Thomas showed good anticipation to intercept a defensive pass across the box and went on to score with a low shot to the left of keeper Palmer.
They kept up the pressure and Ethan Robson hit the bar with Martin Smith also going close on two occasions. Then Stinson shot wide from a one-on-one after Smith had played him in, otherwise the score could have been even more impressive at the break but it was still a comfortable lead.
As expected, West Brom did come back in the first 15 minutes after half-time and hit the post.
But Sunderland regained control and this time it was Liam Agnew who was through but again hit the bar from another one-on-one.
Two more chances fell to Thomas and sub Steven McCarthy from breakaways but both drew good saves from the keeper.
The visitors were then content to run down the clock and finish worthy winners after a performance so different from the previous game where they were somewhat fortunate following a brilliant display by keeper Peter Burke to take a point.
Coach Craig Liddle said: “We knew we didn’t play very well on Saturday despite getting a draw – we also knew we could raise our game from that display. We did this today and turned in a very good performance.”
Sunderland: Burke, Ledger, McNamee, Sukar, Robson T, Holland (McCarthy 50), Agnew, Robson E, Thomas, Stinson (Lane 80), Smith (McGrath 75).