Sunderland ended this season’s Under-18 Premier League home programme with a hard-earned single goal win against a resolute Brighton side at the Academy of Light today.
The young Black Cats started well with a curled shot from Chris Allan drifting just wide but did go ahead with a super goal after nine minutes.
Jack Diamond twisted and turned to the edge of the box before unleashing a gem of a low shot into the corner of the net.
The Seagulls came back and home keeper Anthony Patterson had to save well from a set piece, diving low to his left and holding on.
On 25 minutes, the lead was nearly doubled when Owen Gamble put a good ball in from the right, but Diamond’s header hit the bar before bouncing to safety.
Just before the break, Allan attempted another shot from distance that was close, but the half ended with the Wearsiders on top, having been the better side for much of the game.
The second period began with a controversial incident.
Sonny Best burst down the middle and was going clear. However, he was brought down on the edge of the box for a fruitless free-kick.
It looked as though the defender was the last man, but there was no booking from the referee or any action taken whatsoever.
Later in the half, Best drew a good save from the keeper, after cutting in from the right, but Sunderland just couldn’t get that second goal that would have consolidated the lead.
Brighton had made things difficult, but the game finished with a narrow Sunderland victory.
Coach Mark Atkinson summed up by saying: “It was a pleasing result.
“We managed the game really well in difficult breezy conditions.
“Above all, it was our third consecutive clean sheet as well and we were especially pleased for Jack Diamond, who we are always telling he should score more.”
Sunderland: Patterson, Lattie, Krusnell, Allan, Taylor, Storey, Gamble, Hackett, Connelly (Best 9 Connolly 87), Kimpioka (McAughtrie 79), Diamond. Subs not used: Young, Woud.