Sunderland U23s 0 Liverpool U23s 0: Coach Byrne salutes young Cats' spirit, but point marred by Asoro injury
Coach Cliff Byrne praised Sunderland Under-23s '“ after a third successive clean sheet in yesterday's goalless draw at home to Liverpool.
Fit-again Lynden Gooch came through an hour unscathed in the Premier League 2 clash at Eppleton CW, playing up front, though an encouraging performance was marred by the loss of Joel Asoro, who was stretchered off in the second half.
“There are loads of positives we can take from the game,” said Byrne.
“We were probing throughout the game and we hit the woodwork a couple of times.
“We had a couple cleared off the line as well so credit to the lads because they never gave up and we are really pleased with the boys because they have been terrific over the last few weeks.
“You can see the work ethic they have – it’s fantastic. We expect that of them anyway but there’s one thing expecting it and another thing to actually deliver it.”
The Irishman, in temporary charge after the departure of Andy Welsh to Wigan, added on safc.com: “Three clean sheets in a row though is something to be proud of and it’s something we hope to build on now.
“We were resolute and while we pushed for a winner the work rate to get back and defend when we needed to was terrific.”
Sunderland created plenty of chances in an entertaining first period.
Gooch, back from an ankle ligament problem which had kept him out for more than two months, had an early effort blocked by a defender before Asoro was denied by Kamil Grabara at his feet.
Defender Tom Beadling wasted the best chance for Sunerland, drilling his shot into the side netting.
Liverpool had their opportunities, too, and home keeper Max Stryjek was kept busy throughout, and making excellent saves to keep out efforts from Matty Virtue and Madger Gomes.
Asoro departed early in the second half, stretchered off after coming off worst from a challenge by Jordan Williams.
Sunderland’s Ethan Robson found the post with a tremendous 25-yard free-kick as the hosts chased the opener.
Josh Maja, who replaced a tiring Gooch after an hour, went close to scoring, getting a touch onto a Rees Greenwood cross, only for Liverpool to block and clear off the line.
Luke Molyneux hit the bar as Sunderland kept pressing, but Liverpool finished the stronger side, Sheyi Ojo blasting an effort just wide of the post with the last chance of the game.
Sunderland U23s: Stryjek, J Robson, Brady, Ledger, T Robson, Beadling, Gooch (Maja 62), E Robson, Nelson, Asoro (Molyneux, 50), Greenwood. Subs not used: Talbot, Hume, Wright
Liverpool U23s: Grabara, Whelan, Hart, Masterson, Phillips, Williams, Ojo, Virtue, Brenster, Alves (Gomes 85), Gomes Subs not used: Brewitt, Kelleher, Brimmer, Lewis. Att: 348