Sunderland bounced back from their disappointing midweek FA Youth Cup exit against Norwich by showing great character to notch a deserved win at Manchester United in the Barclays U18 Premier League’s Northern Division today.
There had been a hard frost in the North West, but United’s superb Carrington training complex has under soil heating, so the match was able to go ahead.
The Wearsiders started like a train and took the lead after only six minutes. In what is becoming a trade mark Luke Molyneux goal, the winger cutting from the right and bent a magnificent shot across the keeper into the far top corner.
It was a replica of his recent goal against West Brom.
The home side then came back to have lots of the ball, but Sunderland’s defensive shape was good before unfortunately conceding an equaliser.
United got in down the right and crossed to the far post. The ball was headed back and Sunderland keeper Michael Woud – an Under-17 New Zealand international who made a most promising debut – was able to make a good save but United’s Indy Boonen tapped in the rebound.
Once again, Sunderland started brightly in the second period and scored what proved to be the winner after only four minutes.
It came from an inswinging corner taken on the right by Molyneux which was headed home in fine style by big Irish central defender Dan Casey.
The young Black Cats were fairly comfortable for the rest of the match, with Andrew Nelson having two chances to increase the lead but dragged both wide of the far post.
But the best chance fell to Elliott Embleton, who was through to force a good save from the keeper, who was out fast to block with his body.
Although the Red Devils had the greater possession in the second half, they never really hurt the solid Sunderland defence. Indeed, the away side enjoyed some good passages of play and were able to see out the rest of the match with ease.
Coach Elliott Dickman said: “It was a good performance all round and so rewarding after the Youth Cup loss.”
Sunderland: Woud, Gamble, Casey, Storey, Hume, Molyneux, Wright, Bale, Embleton, Poame (Graham 55), Nelson.