Sunderland eased their way into the second round of the FA Youth Cup with a 1-0 win against Halifax at The Shay last night.
They were largely in control for most of the match, with 16-year-old Dan Neil and 17-year-old Bali Mumba hugely influential in midfield.
Both players were predicted to have fine first-team futures by Under-23 coach Elliott Dickman earlier this week.
Sunderland dictated the first half and scored the only goal of the game in the 22nd minute. Ryan Leonard got into the Halifax box with a good run and was brought down.
Leonard stepped up to slot the penalty home to the keeper’s right.
The visitors then limited the hosts to very few opportunities.
After the break, Halifax came back strongly in a spirited rally, but central defender Andreas Edmundsoon was outstanding to keep them at bay.
The Wearsiders then managed the game well to seal the win.
Sunderland Under-18 coach Paul Bryson said: “It was a comfortable win against a very spirited opposition.”
Sunderland: Cameron, Evans, Edmundsson, Ord, Howard, Neil, Scothern, Mumba, Kennedy (Best 70), Slack, Leonard. Subs not used: Bassey, Compper, Devine, Gooch.
Meanwhile, Sunderland will be backed by another sold-out away end for the December 8 trip to Accrington Stanley. The Black Cats have sold out every away allocation so far this season.
And fans were quick to snap up the 2,600 tickets for the trip to Stanley, the first meeting between the two sides in more than 100 years.
Travelling to Luton, Gillingham, AFC Wimbledon, Burton Albion, Coventry, Bradford, Shrewsbury and Doncaster Rovers so far, Sunderland fans have backed their club to the full, selling
out each of their eight away games.
Accrington’s Wham Stadium only holds 5,057, which means Sunderland’s allocation is half the capacity.