NEWCASTLE completed the double over Sunderland in today’s Barclays U18 Premier League derby at the Academy of Light.
They followed up their 3-0 win earlier in the season with a single-goal victory in a dull, scrappy match.
The Wearsiders never found their normal fluency and their general play was nowhere near as good as in recent performances.
Perhaps the occasion was too much, but there will have to be a vast improvement if progress is to be made in the FA Youth Cup tie at St James’s Park on Monday week.
As early as the second minute. the visitors showed their intent when striker Tom Heardman hit the bar with a looping header which was gathered on the ground, with relief, by Sunderland keeper Peter Burke.
As the game developed, Sunderland’s Martin Smith was well wide with a long-range shot, but striker Lynden Gooch went much closer with a low shot just past the post.
Smith whipped in two set-plays from the left which created good chances, but no-one was able to get on the end of them.
Only a brilliant block by Thomas Beadling in the area saved Sunderland, who tried to come back just before the break, but a shot by James Stinson was easily saved.
Ten minutes after the restart, Newcastle took the lead. Left-winger Callum Roberts centred from the left for Heardman to come in and sidefoot the ball first-time past Burke.
Sunderland still hadn’t got going, with no interpassing to their attempted build-up play.
On 73 minutes, Roberts again cut in from the left with a weaving run and let fly, but his shot was straight at Burke, who was safe in his handling throughout the match.
Shortly afterwards, the same player drilled a low strike just wide and injured his ankle in the process, and was subsequently stretchered off.
Two minutes from time, Sunderland sub Andy Nelson headed just over the bar, but there was no real build-up of pressure to bring to an end a glimmer of light to an all-round dismal display.
Director of Academy Ged McNamee said: “It was very disappointing – we never got going in a very scrappy game. There were too many below-par performances and one goal always was going to settle it.”
SUNDERLAND (4-1-3-1-1): Burke; J Robson, Colquhoun, Beadling, T Robson; E Robson; Greenwood (McEvoy 64), M Smith, Molyneux (Blinco 75); Gooch (Nelson 70); Stinson. Subs not used: Purvis, Pybus
NEWCASTLE: Pearson, Sterry, Cameron, Olley, McKinnon, Booth, Barlaser, Drennon, Heardman, Kemen, Roberts
* More pictures in tonight’s online Football Echo