Sunderland U23s 2 Leicester City U23s 2: Josh Maja rescues late point for Cats

Josh Maja bagged a brace as Sunderland Under-23s twice came from behind to rescue a point against Leicester City in Premier League 2.

Sunday, 12th March 2017, 12:58 pm
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 10:08 am
Josh Maja in action

The point brings to an end a three-game losing streak but Elliott Dickman's side are still seven games without a win in the league dating back to December.

Maja was the hero for Sunderland, with his 88th minute penalty rescuing a point for the hosts at the Stadium of Light in the spring sunshine.

With no first team players in the squad, Elliott Dickman made four changes to the side beaten 3-1 by Manchester United on Monday night.

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They fell behind after six minutes, Foxes forward Admiral Muskwe rounding Max Stryjek before coolly slotting home to give the visitors an early lead.

Leicester City started the day bottom of Premier League 2 but only four points behind mid-table Sunderland in a tight league.

Sunderland, with Maja leading the line, soon found their rhythm and should have equalised three minutes later.

Denver Hume did well down the left flank before creating enough space to find Maja on the edge of the six-yard box

The forward couldn't get enough power or direction on the header and it drifted well wide.

Sunderland looked dangerous, with wingers Luke Molyneux and Joel Asoro interchanging throughout the first half. Defensively they looked suspect, though.

Muskwe was proving a handful with his pace, power and movement. He almost doubled Leicester's lead 22 minutes in after a neat turn inside the box but his effort was wide.

Embleton had a sight on goal 29 minutes in but his 20-yard lofted effort was comfortably saved by Daniel Iversen in the Leicester goal.

Sunderland continued to press, with Maja's tricky footwork creating enough space to fire a low effort in on goal from inside the area, Iversen again gathering the effort.

Dickman's side deservedly drew level after 37 minutes.

Asoro and Maja linked up well before 18-year-old Maja dinked a delightful chip over the advancing Iversen who had gone to ground early.

It was a superb goal, Darnell Johnson gave the ball away poorly to allow Asoro to nip in and provide a perfectly weighted pass for Maja to run onto.

Johnson should have done better four minutes before the break but his effort sailed over Stryjek's crossbar as the side's went in level.

Half-time: Sunderland U23s 1 Leicester City U23s 1

Much like the first half, Leicester started the opening stages of the second half on top. Stryjek had to be alert to deny Dylan Watts from giving the Foxes the lead.

They didn't have to wait long. Muskwe scored his second of the game six minutes after the restart, slotting home Josh Knight's perfect pass past Stryjek.

From Sunderland's point of view, it was far too easy, with Knight allowed to run the best part of 50-yards before Muskwe did the rest.

Muskwe took a blow to head in the process, the striker having to be helped off the pitch by three medics, Raul Uche coming on in his place.

Leicester continued to carve out the clearer openings, Josh Gordon stealing a yard inside the area but his effort was saved by Stryjek.

Sunderland skipper Ethan Robson latched onto an Asoro through ball on the hour mark before being bundled off the ball by two Foxes defenders. The appeals waved away.

There was a break in play midway through the second half, Molyneux in need of treatment but the winger was fine to continue as Sunderland tried to find a way back into the game.

Dickman's side had several promising moments in the second half but couldn't manage any long periods of sustained pressure on Iversen's goal despite dominating possession.

The closest they came was through Ethan Robson's free-kick from 25-yards - Iversen at full stretch to tip the goal bound effort round the post.

Sunderland kept plugging away and got their rewards in the 88th minute, Maja making it 2-2 from the spot after Ethan Robson was bundled over inside the penalty area.

Full-time: Sunderland U23s 2 Leicester City U23s 2

Sunderland U23s: Stryjek, J. Robson, Brady, Brotherton, Hume, Wright, E.Robson (C), Embleton, Molyneux, Maja, Asoro.

Subs: Casey, Talbot, Poame, Gamble, Allan.

Booked: None

Goal: Maja (37, 88 penalty)

Leicester City: Iversen, Johnson, Knight, Moore (C), Pascanu, Watts (Kaba Sherif, 62) Hammond, Dewsbury-Hall, Ndukwu (Wood 78), Muskwe (Uche, 51), Gordon.

Subs: Bramley, Martis.

Booked: None

Goals: Muskwe (5, 51)

Attendance: 205