Bali Mumba stars as Sunderland Under-18s progress in FA Youth Cup with victory over Tranmere Rovers
Sunderland Under-18s notched their first win of the season when they eased their way to a 3-1 victory over Tranmere in the FA Youth Cup at Eppleton last night.
The side included Bali Mumba and Dan Neil - two U23 regulars but still eligible for this game and their influence on the rest of the side and the match was substantial.
The hosts started well and went ahead on 17 minutes when a Dan Jones corner was emphatically headed home by Harry Ord.
Five minutes later the lead was doubled when Cole Kiernan turned in a Tom Smith cross at the near post.
It looked like plain sailing but Tranmere hit back with a spectacular goal just before half time. Ryan Stratulis twisted pass two defenders before unleashing a wonder 25 yard strike into the top corner.
After their recent defeats, Sunderland's confidence must have been fragile but they didn't let the set-back affect them.
In one attack, Kiernan headed against the bar and Logan Pye's follow up left footed shot was tipped onto the post by the keeper.
They clinched the tie when the two goal lead was restored on 70 minutes as a Neil cross was tapped in from close range by sub Louie Watts.
Elated Sunderland coach Paul Bryson said: "We applied ourselves really well. Bali Mumba and Dan Neil's inclusion was a big bonus. They both played well and seemed to lift the rest of the team."
Sunderland: Newman, Mumba, Smith, Jones, Krakue, Ord, Wombwell, Neil, Kiernan, Foster, Pye.
Subs - Watt, Cameron, Dicchio, Armstrong, Hugill, Kompper, Baggs.