ROBBIE Stockdale hailed Sunderland Under-21s’ resilience after a second win on the spin against Manchester City.
Mikael Mandron’s second half header proved sufficient for Sunderland at Eppleton CW last night after the Black Cats built on last month’s U21 Premier Cup win over City to record another triumph.
Patrick Viera’s City side barely mustered a clear-cut chance against a young Black Cats side, which included Greek winger Charis Mavrias, with development coach Stockdale delighted with the defensive display.
Stockdale said: “I thought we were very resolute. The shining light of the team was the team.
“We defended very well, worked our socks off from back to front and that saw us over the line in the end.
“They had a couple of flashes across the face of goal, but they’re going to.
“They’re a top, top team. You’re talking about playing against multi-million pound players.
“We stood up to them and it’s the second time we’ve beaten them. We drew with them in the third game so to go unbeaten against Man City for the season is a pretty decent achievement.”
Striker Mandron headed home the rebound following a flowing move from Sunderland which culminated in midfielder Martin Smith smacking a shot against the underside of the bar.
That was one of several opportunities mustered by the hosts, who went close in the first half through Carl Lawson and a Mandron header.
“It was great play for Smithy to hit the crossbar,” said Stockdale.
“And I thought we cut them open a couple of times.
“Carl had a great chance which he probably should have scored, but the keeper made a good save, while Mika’s header looked in all the way just before half-time.
“So I think we had the better chances.
“I felt we got a bit anxious after we scored, it was like we’d scored the World Cup-winning goal, but there was still a long way to go.
“But we saw it out and that was credit to the players.”
The one downside for Sunderland was a bruised foot for captain Liam Agnew, with the Black Cats waiting to see the severity of the injury.
Stockdale added: “He got a kick on the top of his foot, which are always quite nasty.
“He felt fine jogging, it was just when he tried to put more pressure on his foot.
“It’s swollen. We’ll have to wait and see how it is.”