SUNDERLAND gave a great all-round team performance to beat high-fliers Everton 3-1 away from home, writes Neville Pilkington.
It was by no means easy but an adventurous 3-5-2 formation with two wing backs proved a decisive master stroke by coach Ged McNamee.
Everton simply had no answer to the solid defending, incisive raids and clinical finishing.
The Wearsiders took an early lead in the sixth minute when Ethan Robson robbed a midfielder to feed Lynden Gooch, who drew the keeper and then passed the ball into the net for a classy finish.
Everton were well in the game but were contained by good disciplined defending for the rest of the half but just before the break Sunderland broke to double the lead.
Once again it was Robson who found Rees Greenwood and he passed to Gooch to take on a defender and bang the ball home.
In the second half, the Toffees put the visitors under pressure but committed defending with goalkeeper Peter Burke outstanding kept them at bay until they reduced the lead on 54 minutes from the penalty spot when an attacker was brought down.
Undeterred by the set-back, the young Black Cats took only four minutes to regain their two-goal advantage when they broke for striker James Stinson to take on a defender and hit a tremendous cross-shot in off the post.
The Merseysiders fought back valiantly but it was Sunderland’s game and sub Andrew Nelson had further chances to enhance a fine victory.
Coach McNamee said: “The win was even better considering we played two Under 16s and brought on another two – but everyone contributed in a deserved win.”
Sunderland: Burke, Lowrie, Beadling, Ledger, Robson J (Wright 52), Greenwood (78 McEvoy), Smith, T. Robson, Gooch (Nelson 70), Stinson.