SCOTTISH First Division club Hamilton proved too strong for a young Sunderland XI at the Academy of Light yesterday, writes David Pilkington.
But the hosts started the brighter, with George Honeyman firing straight at the keeper.
Hamilton went close twice before grabbing a seventh-minute lead when Andy Ryan cut inside onto his left foot before shooting low past keeper Joel Dixon.
The confident visitors doubled their lead four minutes later following a quickly taken free-kick, with Michael Devlin flicking the ball over Dixon’s outstretched hand.
Sunderland rallied and pulled a goal back on the half-hour mark when Andy Harrison received the ball at the edge of the box, jinked through two defenders and coolly slotted home low to the keeper’s left.
Harrison was close to an equaliser early in the second half, having the ball taken off his toes in the act of shooting, before Sunderland made 10 outfield changes on the hour.
The Wearsiders looked capable of causing Hamilton problems, but they were rocked by a third from the Scots on 67 minutes, when a teasing right-wing cross was fumbled by keeper Dixon, allowing sub Jon McShane to score.
Coach Kevin Ball said: “As a pre-season work-out, I was pleased as it was a strong Hamilton side containing several first-team players.
“Our squad was rather depleted with several of the lads away in Korea. Although we conceded three goals, there wasn’t one that I could blame the lads for, as they were all taken well.
“The lads know what areas they need to work on, and I know where I have work with them.”
Sunderland are in action at Whitby tonight (7pm).
SUNDERLAND: Dixon, Marrs (Agnew 60), Ferguson (Burn 60), Joyce (Cartwright 60), Oliver (Gibbons 60), Watson (Holland 60), Mitchell (Hope 60), Harrison (Laing 60), Laidler (Lawson 60), Honeyman (Mandron 60), Callaghan (Thomas 60)