Sunderland Under-18s kick-off 2020 with defeat away to Blackburn Rovers
Sunderland Under-18s resumed their league programme after the Christmas break by losing 2-0 away to Blackburn Rovers, writes Neville Pilkington.
It was a disappointing first half display by the Black Cats which led to Rovers taking a two goal lead.
The first goal came on 14 minutes when the ball was lost in midfield allowing Rovers to break down the left and cross for Zak Gilseran to head in from six yards.
The lead was doubled on 34 minutes by Sam Burns, who buried a great first time volley into the top corner from a left side pull back.
Both goals came from the Wearsiders giving the ball away far too easily.
The second half was much better as the pressure seemed to be lifted and Sunderland were largely in control.
Much of the improvement stemmed from a first year Dan Jones, who ran the midfield and pulled the young Black Cats back into the game.
Half chances were created but they needed to be more ruthless in the final third.
As Sunderland Under-18 coach Paul Bryson said afterwards: "Its no good starting to play when you are two goals down.
“We did our best with only four second years who were up against a Rovers side that contained nine.
“But it was a much better display than those before Christmas.”
Sunderland: Newman, Smith, Miller, Armstrong, Baggs, Jones, Foster, Watts (Bruce 84), Wombwell, Kiernan (Hugill 84), Gooch (Dicchio 55).