Sunderland deny Newcastle with last-gasp goal

Connor Wickham celebrates his goal against Newcastle United tonight
Connor Wickham celebrates his goal against Newcastle United tonight
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Sunderland U21 2 Newcastle United U21 2

CRAIG Lynch’s late leveller got Sunderland out of jail just when it looked as though defeat seemed certain in tonight’s Barclays Premier U21 Professional Development League clash at the Stadium of Light.

The striker pounced in stoppage time, sweeping home from just outside the six-yard box but even then Mehdi Abeid had a chance to steal the points for the Magpies – blazing over the bar from virtually the last kick of the game.

It was the second time this season this fixture had ended in stalemate but if Sunderland were worthy of a win at St James’s Park in their 2-2 draw; Newcastle will feel aggrieved they couldn’t see this game out.

Nile Ranger had given United the lead with a cool, low finish after team-mate Brad Inman had robbed David Vaughan just inside the Newcastle half.

Inman produced a defence-splitting pass and United striker Ranger took his chance well.

The Black Cats levelled in the 21st minute when Connor Wickham – who scored both Sunderland goals in the previous fixture – fastened on to a Roarie Deacon ball into the box and slid home a shot from the edge of the six-yard box.

Newcastle, though, continued to look dangerous going forward and it was no surprise when they regained the lead – this time Inman taking a goal rather than making one.

Jordan Pickford, who had a busy game made a good save in a goalmouth scramble in the 37th minute, but Inman was on hand to power home a low shot from just inside the 18-yard box.

Both sides were positive in an open second half which saw good chances fall to Wickham for Sunderland and Marcus Maddison for Newcastle.

It looked as though Sunderland’s moment might have gone when they were awarded a penalty for a foul on Wickham and Adam Reed struck his low penalty against Jak Alnwick’s right-hand post – the ball trickling along the line before being cleared.

But right at the death, Lynch was alive in the box to give Sunderland an equaliser which, to their credit, they never gave up searching for.

Sunderland: Pickford, Marrs, Armstrong (sub Harrison 19), Oliver, Ferguson, Gorrin (sub Laidler 74), Vaughan, Reed, Deacon, Lynch, Wickham (sub Mandron 83). Subs not used: Wilson, Joyce.

Newcastle: Alnwick, Logan, Newton, Good, Riley, Abeid, Inman, Moyo, Maddison (sub Miele 69), Hooper, Ranger (sub Knight 69). Sub not used: Woodman, Kitchen.

Ref: Gary Beswick.