SUNDERLAND produced a disappointing, sub-standard display at Derby in the Barclays U18 Premier League today, succumbing to a single-goal defeat which could have easily been heavier.
The all-round performance, in their second end-of-season Group Two programme, was poor from the young Black Cats, with virtually no chances being created whatsoever.
I can’t really find any positives at all – I’m afraid it was very poor from usElliott Dickman
In the first half, Derby pressed continually on a bumpy pitch and made things very difficult for the Sunderland side.
After being the better team for long periods, Derby finally took the lead, thanks to a goal from Offrande Zanzala early in the second period.
The goal came from a long ball over the top from Alex Cover down the right-side channel which caused a mix-up between Sunderland keeper James Talbot and the defence.
When the ball was subsequently played into the middle, Zanzala scored with ease to penalise the error to the full.
Zanzala was close to a second goal, beating Talbot and lobbing just off-target.
Kellan Gordon hit the Sunderland bar, while Talbot made an excellent save to deny Charles Vernam.
There were spells of good play from the visitors and striker Andrew Nelson was through but his final touch let him down.
Dylan McEvoy had a couple of late opportunities, with keeper Josh Barnes saving at his feet and then making a tremendous save to keep out an effort from a right-wing cross.
But it was a rare isolated opportunity to take something from the game.
Irish defender Dan Casey was taken to hospital in the second half suffering from a leg injury.
Sunderland coach Elliot Dickman said: “I can’t really find any positives at all – I’m afraid it was very poor from us.”
DERBY: Barnes, Stabana, MacDonald, Bird, Wassall, Cover, Bennett, Carvell, Zanzala, Vernam, Gordon. Subs: Moulton, Yates, Babos
SUNDERLAND: Talbot, Casey (Ellison 65), Ledger, Storey, J Robson, Blinco, McEvoy, Wright, Molyneux, Embleton (Pybus 80), Nelson. Subs not used: Graham, Ganiyu, Purvis