West Brom U18s 0 Sunderland U18s 0: McAughtrie goes closest as young Black Cats make point

Sunderland midfielder George Honeyman takes on Arsenal Under-23s at Eppleton on Saturday. Picture by Frank Reid

Sunderland midfielder George Honeyman takes on Arsenal Under-23s at Eppleton on Saturday. Picture by Frank Reid

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Sunderland ground out a good away point in the Under-18 Premier League’s end-of-season Group Three match at West Brom on Saturday,,

Although the game ended goalless, Sunderland’s ball retention and passing was far better than in recent games and the point was fully deserved.

The Wearsiders enjoyed a good first period. Their play was fine up to the last third, but the final ball lacked quality.

It was a half of few goalscoring opportunities, but Alex Storey had to make a good block to prevent the hosts from going ahead.

The second half continued in the same vein, with lots of good possession from Sunderland. Jack Diamond had several shots narrowly over the top and drew a good save from the keeper with one effort.

But the nearest chance of breaking the deadlock fell to Fergie McAughtrie. Lee Connelly played in the substitute wide man, who did everything right, shooting across the keeper from a tight angle, to force a super save.

Coach Mark Atkinson said: “I was pleased with a clean sheet and how we played, apart from the final ball. The main improvement was in keeping the ball far better than in recent games.

West Brom finish the season unbeaten in all three meeting with the Black Cats. In the Northern Division, they won 2-0 at home and managed a 2-2 draw at the Academy of Light.

Sunderland have two matches left, a home game against bottom club Brighton on May 6 before finishing off at Southampton on May 13

Sunderland: Woud, Gamble, Taylor, Storey, Krusnell, Best (Connolly 70), Hackett, Allan, Diamond, Kimpioka (McAughtrie 77), Connelly. Subs not used: Patterson, Young.