JORDAN Laidler’s first half strike sent Sunderland up to fourth in the Under-21 Premier League after a 1-0 victory over Fulham.
Laidler’s predatory finish from Mikael Mandron’s lay-off proved to be the only goal of the game at the Academy of Light today, as a strong Sunderland side featuring first-teamers Carlos Cuellar, Valentin Roberge and Ondrej Celustka, along with summer signings Charis Mavrias and El-Hadji Ba, held on for victory.
In front of the watching Gus Poyet, the Black Cats could, and perhaps should, have won by a more handsome margin, with Laidler, Louis Laing and George Honeyman spurning further opportunities.
Fulham’s best effort came early in the second half when Joshua Pritchard’s strike was tipped onto the crossbar by Sunderland stopper Joel Dixon.
SUNDERLAND: Dixon, Celustka, Robson, Ba (Oliver85), Cuellar, Roberge (Harrison 63), Mavrias, Laing, Mandron (Gooch 90), Laidler, Honeyman. Subs not used: Stryjek, Smith.
FULHAM: Joronen, Passley, Banya, Pritchard, Buatu, Burgess, Evans (Smile 67), Christensen, Dembele (O’Halloran 17, Islamovic 54)), Della Verde, Plumain. Subs not used: Oberschmidt, Brister.