Exactly what happened and who impressed as Sunderland under-23s reach play-off final with Stoke City victory
Sunderland’s under-23 side are potentially just two games away from promotion – as they head to Stoke City in a promotion play-off semi-final.
The Black Cats’ second string have enjoyed a remarkable campaign and finished their regular season in fifth place in Premier League 2 Division 2.
That meant Elliott Dickman’s side now head into the play-offs where they will face a Stoke City side who finished second in the league – with the winners going on to face either Wolves or Crystal Palace in the final.
2,000 fans are set to attend the game as COVID-19 restrictions ease.
Sunderland are likely to include the likes of Josh Hawkes, Dan Neil and Oliver Younger in their squad, while Lee Johnson could opt to use the clash as an opportunity to hand minutes to some returning first-team players.
We’ll be providing lupdates from the clash at the Bet365 Stadium throughout the evening, with team news, analysis and more from the play-off game.
FT: Stoke City 0-2 Sunderland U23 (Hawkes 57, Younger 66)
Last updated: Monday, 17 May, 2021, 19:27
- Sunderland travel to Stoke City in their Premier League 2 Division 2 play-off (7pm kick-off),
- Elliott Dickman is likely to include the likes of Josh Hawkes, Dan Neil and Oliver Younger in his side.
- Team news is expected at 6pm.
Here we go...
The teams are out at the bet365 Stadium - and how great it is to hear fans roar a team onto a playing surface again!
Sunderland enter the field first, with Stoke not far behind (you can probably guess which team received the biggest roar!)
Stick with us for live updates from today’s game...
1 - Aaaaaaand we’re off!
Sunderland get the ball rolling in front of a vocal Stoke crowd!
4 - A cagey opening
No real chances to note as of yet, but it’s Stoke who have had the first corner of the game after Almond was adjudged to have got the final touch on a deflected clearance.
Jones’ delivery was deep but dangerous, and Harris had to rise well to head it away.
6 - Almost a scare for Sunderland!
McClean whips a cross in from the left and Dyce slips as he looks to control it on his chest.
James-Taylor is there and ready to pounce but Younger does well to hack it away before the Stoke man can connect.
10 - Better from Sunderland...
The Black Cats are having a better spell of possession but are still yet to really fashion a chance.
Harris thought he was through a few moments ago but the flag was raised as he prepared to bear down on goal.
Mark Proctor is the man issuing most of the instructions from the Sunderland dugout tonight.
13 - CHANCE!
Sunderland’s first real opportunity of the game comes from a free-kick.
Hawkes lines it up from 35 yards and strikes it sweetly enough - but the effort is always rising and doesn’t trouble Hemfrey.
15 - Brilliant to see!
19 - Sunderland are on top
It’s the visitors seeing most of the ball at the moment and they’ve just had a real sustained spell of pressure in the Stoke half.
Richardson whipped in a fine ball which almost landed for Harris, but Taylor did well to clear.
22 - The early verdict from our man at the ground...
26 - CHANCE!
Hawkes again tries his luck from range.
This time the opportunity came after a fine cross-field ball which picked out Richardson on the right flank.
He then found Hawkes who spun on the edge of the box before drilling wide of the far post.