Robbie Stockdale reflects on Sunderland's Checkatrade Trophy exit to Wolves
Robbie Stockdale has called on Sunderland's youngsters to learn from their Checkatrade Trophy experience after being knocked out of the competition.
The Under-21 side were beaten 4-3 on penalties by Wolves Under-21's after the second round tie ended 1-1 at Molineux.
First team coach Stockdale, who took charge of the game, was disappointed with Sunderland's second half performance, with Wolves dictating play.
The hosts should have won the tie in normal time but Vito Mannone - the only senior professional in Sunderland's side - kept the Wolves forward line at bay.
"It was really disappointing our second half performance," reflected Stockdale.
"I thought we finished the first half quite positively, we got in time and time again round the back and down the sides.
"Credit to Wolves, they stopped us doing that and we didn't quite have the answers on the pitch to change our play.
"It was disappointing but that is young players and sometimes they have to come up with the answers for themselves. We didn't do that second half.
"You get to penalties and fair play to them, they have stuck at it and defended well and Vito made some good saves.
"You won't have 90 minutes all your own way.
"To go out on penalties was disappointing."
Bright Enobakhare, who Stockdale described as the best player on the pitch, scored the opener for Wolves before Thomas Beadling's stunning equaliser.
Stockdale added: "It was a great strike from Tom. He has great technical ability.
"It was a fantastic goal."
The competition was revamped in the summer with 16 teams with Academy 1 status from the Premier League and Championship invited to enter.
Both Sunderland and Championship side Wolves have Academy 1 status which meant they had to play six players under the age of 21 in their starting line-up, effectively making it an academy match.
In the group stages of the competition Sunderland faced League Two sides Hartlepool United and Notts County and League One side Rochdale.
Stockdale added: "When the draw was made I was disappointed it wasn't another league team.
"The Wolves staff felt the same. That was the whole point of the competition. To go out to another academy team is disappointing.
"In the second half we didn't deserve to go through. The defence deserve credit though for plugging away against their powerful forwards.
"There is a learning curve there, regardless. Young players will learn from every experience."