IT ENDED honours even as Wolves fought back to retrieve a two-goal deficit in the second half in the Barclays U18 Premier League at the Academy of Light today, writes Neville Pilkington.
Sunderland played an adventurous 3-5-2 formation, with Don Casey, Ross Colquhoun and Michael Ledger at the back and Josh Robson and Denver Hume as wing-backs in a midfield five.
The hosts looked comfortable in the first period, playing with the wind, and after good play in the opening stages, took the lead in the 18th minute.
The goal came from a mistake by Wolves keeper Harry Burgoyne, who tried to pass his way out of defence to clear, but Rees greenwood intercepted and went on to easily beat the keeper with a low drive.
Seven minutes later, Greenwood, who was outstanding throughout, played a great ball to send Andrew Nelson away in the left-side channel, but the striker took the shot with his right foot and was well wide.
The rest of the half saw few chances created, but, just a minute before the break, the young Black Cats doubled their lead.
It was Greenwood who made the second goal, playing in Jordan Blinco, who took the ball round the keeper in a one on one and slotted home.
The second half saw Wolves playingn with the wind, but Sunderland produced some good football through the basic concept of keeping the ball on the floor, due to the conditions.
On 54 minutes, the visitors showed their intent with Conor Levingston striking the bar with a long-distance, wind-assisted shot.
Eight minutes later, Sunderland should have been three goals ahead when a fabulous left-footed pass by Greenwood put Nelson in the clear and only a super save by Burgoyne prevented a 3-0 lead.
Sunderland were made to pay for the miss a minute later, when a right-wing corner was converted from close range by giant centre-half Aaron Hayden.
Shortly afterwards, only a marvellous save by Greg Purvis kept out a fierce, low shot as Wolves pressed, gaining confidence from their goal.
Sunderland defended heroically but finally cracked in the final few minutes from another right-flank corner, where Wolves sub Razvan Oaida headed home after being left completely unmarked.
As Carlton Fairweather said afterwards: “it was so disappointing. In the first half, we played really well but to concede two goals from set pieces was poor defending. We should have won it.”
SUNDERLAND: Purvis, J Robson (Lowrie 77), Colquhoun (Molyneux 70), Pybus, Casey, Ledger, Greenwood, McEvoy, Nelson (Gainya), Blinco, Hume. Subs not used: Roberts, Poame