Sunderland 2-0 Hertha BSC: Player ratings as Paddy McNair and Duncan Watmore continue comeback in U23 win

McNair scored on his return from injury
McNair scored on his return from injury
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Paddy McNair marked his comeback from injury with a goal as Sunderland edged out Hertha Berlin in their first Premier League International Cup game.

The midfielder scored a looping header after Duncan Watmore's shot was well saved on 37 minutes.

Both were substituted at half-time, alongside the impressive Ethan Robson, as they step up their comebacks from injury. They were part of a richly experienced U23 side, including Donald Love, Brendan Galloway and Jack Rodwell, the latter again used in a centre-back berth.

That XI helped comfortably control the opening period against a more youthful opposition, though Love was fortunate when Fabio Mirbach escaped his attentions at the back post just before half-time, but could only find the post with his free header.

A bright start to the second half for the hosts gave way to sustained pressure, with Hertha Berlin perhaps left aggrieved that they could not force at least a point in the second half.

Though goalkeeper was left James Talbot was left scrambling with a few long-range efforts, he was rarely forced into significant action as the Black Cats held on for the win.

They were able to add gloss to the scoreline in stoppage time as Jack Diamond was fouled in the box at the end of a fine run. Captain Thomas Beadling sent the goalkeeper the wrong way with an excellent penalty.

JAMES TALBOT

Despite Hertha's second half pressure, the young goalkeeper had very few saves to make. Commanding and brave when required. 6

DONALD LOVE

Was unfortunate that some first time balls just didn't reach Duncan Watmore, who had made good runs into space. Got away with lapse in concentration late in first half as Mirbach headed onto the post. 6

JACK RODWELL

Looked comfortable after again being selected at centre-back. Distributed the ball well but came under little pressure for the most part. 6

TOM BEADLING

Captain for the night and despite second half pressure from the visitors, always looked in control of proceedings. Desptached penalty comfortably. 6

BRENDAN GALLOWAY

One superb attacking run, beating four defenders before being brought down on the edge of the area, was arguably the moment of the match. Looked very good at the back but defensive credentials were rarely tested. 7

LUKE MOLYNEUX

A lively display from the right-winger who made some very dangerous moves forward, but the final ball just eluded him. 5

ETHAN ROBSON (Gamble, 45)

Very comfortable on the ball and delivered one wicked free-kick to the near post. Easy to see why he has pushed ahead in battle for first team squad places. 6

ADAM BALE

Efficient throughout, clearly a very energetic, ball-winning midfielder. Was fortunate not to be punished when his runner broke through on goal in the first half. 6

PADDY McNAIR (Diamond, 45)

Successful and impressive comeback. Clever header to open the scoring, just reward for a performance that started quietly but improved quickly. Showed good strength and vision with his passing. 7

REES GREENWOOD

Some good passes in the first half but unable to make a substantial impact on the game in a attacking sense. 5

DUNCAN WATMORE (Nelson, 45)

A nuisance throughout the half, constantly pressuring defenders and looking for the crucial runs into space. Influential in opening goal and could easily have picked one up for himself before that before being hauled down in the box. 7

Subs

OWEN GAMBLE

Comfortable performance in midfield. 6

JACK DIAMOND

Talented player, exciting with ball at feet and did superbly to win penalty. 7

ANDREW NELSON 6

Good presence up front and almost broke free on one or two occasions. 6

Unused: Taylor, Woud, Hume, Hackett