Sunderland U18s 2 Liverpool U18s 1: Nelson, Wright sink Reds

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SUNDERLAND made it three wins in a row with a tremendous victory over Liverpool at the Academy of Light today.

As in last week’s away victory against Manchester United, it was another great all-round team performance from the Black Cats, with good covering and tackling by the defence which, allied to a skilful midfield and some precise finishing, simply proved too much for Liverpool.

Additionally, big Irish keeper James Talbot arguably was man of the match by denying the Reds with three brilliant reaction saves from one-on-one situations.

Sunderland opened well, but the visitors had the first clear cut chance with Jack Watts shooting over an open goal following a mix up on the edge of the box between keeper and defence.

But Talbot redeemed himself when he spread wide to deny Liverpool striker Sergi Canos.

Sunderland took the lead on 15 minutes. They sprung the offside trap and the Reds keeper had to come flying out but Andrew Nelson finished coolly, chipping into the net over the keeper.

Liverpool came back to play well, but the hosts largely contained their efforts to long range.

The same pattern of play continued at the start of the second period, but the young Black Cats defended resolutely before doubling the lead on 54 minutes with a brilliantly worked goal.

Sub Luke Molyenux beat four men in a mazy run, showing intricate footwork before making an incisive reverse pass into the path of Dan Wright, who slotted past the keeper just inside the far post.

It was a picture goal of the highest quality.

Sunderland stayed on top with good ball retention and could have increased the lead with Jordan Blinco cutting in to hit a left-footed strike which was turned over in style by sub keeper Ben Jackson. From the corner, Nelson rose unmarked but his header flew over the top.

Twelve minutes from time, the Merseysiders pulled one back when striker Canos gained possession and banged an angled drive past Talbot into the top corner.

However, the goal made little difference to the final outcome of a well deserved win by the Wearsiders.

Post match, Sunderland coach Carlton Fairweather said: “The lads played well – we had a very good first half and knew Liverpool would come at us in the second period. But we held firm – Talbot made some great saves – and then got a super second goal to take the game.”

Sunderland: Talbot, Casey, Hume, McEvoy, Colquhoun, Ledger, Blinco, Wright, Nelson (Gainya 86), Pybus (J Robson 65), Greenwood (Molyneux 45).