A CONTROVERSIAL refereeing decision was crucial to the outcome of today’s Barclays U18 Premier League clash.
The pivotal moment in the game came on 30 minutes when Sunderland were reduced to 10 men.
Derby had broken quickly from a Sunderland corner and their powerful striker, Offrande Zanzala, was through on goal. Ryan Ellison’s sliding tackle brought him down just outside the box. Referee Jonathan Wood deemed Ellison to be the last man, although it was feasible that another defender could have got across, with the right wing-back duly receiving his marching orders and the Black Cats had to play the remainder of the game with 10 men.
The Wearsiders were the better side in the second half but, on the hour, fell behind to a most unfortunate goal
A long-range Derby effort from Kellan Gordon took a big deflection to beat a despairing dive by Sunderland keeper Peter Burke.
Undeterred, Sunderland came back well and, in the 75th minute, they nearly got the goal they deserved when Ledger’s effort was saved on the line by Derby kleeper Josh Barnes, following a corner.
Ledger was stretching for the ball and had he made a better connection, it would have been a certain goal.
SUNDERLAND: Burke, Ellison, Colquhoun, Wright, Casey (J Robson 65), Ledger, Pybus, McEvoy, Nelson, Blinco, Hume. Sending off: Ellison 30. Booked: Hume 60, Ledger 85
* Don’t miss tonight’s online Football Echo – available on this website at around 6.45pm – for a full report from the Academy of Light.