Sunderland striker nets second hat-trick of the season as Cats U23 side beat Aston Villa to bounce back from Newcastle loss

Will Harris scored his second hat-trick of the season for Sunderland’s under-23 side in a 3-2 win at Aston Villa.

The young Black Cats bounced back from a 2-1 defeat by Newcastle earlier in the week, with the win over Villa moving the Wearsiders up to 10th in Premier League 2, Division 2.

Mike Dodds and John Hewitson took charge of the side with Elliott Dickman and Michael Proctor in self-isolation.

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Harris missed the game against Newcastle after being called up to the senior squad for their League One win at Crewe, while defender Oliver Younger also returned to the under-23s side at Villa’s Bodymoor Heath Training Ground.

Sunderland striker Will Harris.

Centre-back Arbenit Xhemajli, who had played for the under-23 side in their last two games as he recovers from a long-term injury setback, didn’t feature against Villa.

Sunderland fell behind in the first half against a team who sit third in the table, with Keinan Davis netting the opener on 35 minutes.

Harris’s first goal came when the striker converted Nathan Newall’s cross three minutes after half-time, and the match quickly turned in the second half.

The striker’s second came from the penalty spot following a foul on Ellis Taylor, before Harris completed an impressive 10-minute hat-trick to put Sunderland in control.

Villa pulled a goal back when they were awarded a penalty of their own and Philogene-Bidace made it 3-2 with 23 minutes remaining.

After the match, Dodds said: “It was a traditional tale of two halves, and the boys showed such excellent character and hard work to get the three points.

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“They’re really good kids, something I’ve immediately noticed having only been at the club for two and a half weeks.

“Will is a really good player. He’s like that old-school classic number nine, and his hard work shows he deserves his success.”

Sunderland U23s XI: Carney; Richardson, Younger, Almond, Dyce; Sohna, Scott; Kachosa (Johnson 84’), Taylor, Newall (Jessup 90+3’); Harris.

Subs not used: McIntyre, Bainbridge, Trialist.

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Aston Villa U23 XI: Marschall, Lindley, Ealing, Bogarde, Swinkels, Iroegbunam, Frith (Abledeen-Goodridge 67’), Chukwuemeka, Davis (Thorndike 76’), Ramsey, Philogene-Bidace.

Subs not used: Zych, Zito.

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