Arsenal Under-21 1
Sunderland Under-21 5
MIKAEL Mandron’s hat-trick for Sunderland’s development side last night will not have gone unnoticed by Gus Poyet.
The Black Cats’ head coach says his long-term vision for the club is to have young players knocking on the first-team door. And the 19-year-old striker certainly did his own chances of progress no harm with a fine individual display in what was a great team performance overall from Sunderland.
Kevin Ball made six changes to the side that lost at Burnley the previous week with Mandron, Duncan Watmore, Liam Agnew, Tom McNamee, George Honeyman and Jordan Laidler all returning to the side.
Sunderland had to wait just after the half-hour to take the lead when Watmore cut in from the right wing, played a one-two with Honeyman and shot past Arsenal keeper Viviano.
They doubled the lead on the stroke of half-time when Watmore forced a save from Viviano, who parried Craig Lynch’s follow-up, only for Mandron to head home the loose ball inside the six-yard box.
It was 3-0 within five minutes of the restart when Agnew and Watmore linked up well to find Mandron, who put the ball away confidently.
Arsenal managed to get back into the game and capitalised just after the hour mark when Jon Toral fired home from the corner of the box.
But Lynch made it 4-1 in the 75th minute curling a low shot into Viviano’s left-hand corner from the edge of the area.
And Sunderland finished it in style in the dying stages when Mandron scored his seventh goal in six games, glancing home his hat-trick goal from Watmore’s cross.
Sunderland: Dixon, Laing, Ferguson, Laidler, McNamee, Egan, Watmore (sub Cartwright, 89), Agnew, Mandron (sub Lawson, 89), Lynch, Honeyman (sub Mitchell, 75). Subs not used: Stryjek, Moberg Karlsson.