Sunderland were outclassed by a polished Everton outfit in Saturday’s Under-18 Premier League clash at the Academy of Light, writes Neville Pilkington.
The Wearsiders never recovered from gifting the visitors two goals in the first 10 minutes.
Everton proceeded to dominate the game, with very little being seen of the Sunderland attack or an attempted revival.
The Black Cats were behind after only two minutes when Kane Evans needlessly gave away a free-kick on the edge of the area.
Everton’s outstanding Anthony Gordon stepped up to curl a strike over the wall into the top corner of Anthony Patterson’s net.
In response, Sunderland’s Benjie Kimpioka controlled a high ball well on the right then cut in to hit a shot that was easily saved.
It proved to be the only Sunderland shot on target in the whole of the first half.
On 10 minutes, Everton made it 2-0 when Sonny Best misplaced a back pass which Gordon gratefully accepted to round Patterson and slot home.
Everton consolidated the lead on 38 minutes when a ball was played down the left side channel for striker Manasse Mampala, who moved in and sidefooted past Patterson into the far corner.
Two minutes later, the same player made it four when sloppy defensive work allowed him to go on unchallenged through the centre and finish.
Sunderland made two substitutions at half-time, bringing on striker Robbie Dunne and Jason Hickey.
There was an improvement, but it only took another 15 minutes for the Toffees to go 5-0 up, when Mampala completed his hat-trick by converting Gordon’s low centre.
The game was now obviously as good as over, but the Toffees spoiled their clean sheet by allowing Sunderland to grab a consolation goal in the closing stages.
Lee Connelly played a perceptive ball over the top for Kimpioka to finish clinically.
Nevertheless, it had still been rather a debacle for the hosts.
Sunderland coach Mark Attkinson said: “You cannot gift a team like this a two-goal start.
“It only gives them confidence, but what was most disappointing was that after the third goal - we just seemed to accept it.”
Sunderland U18s: Patterson, Howard (Hickey 46), Kokolo, Evans, Edmundsson, Young (Derdali 66), Kimpioka, Hackett, Connelly, Best (Dunne 46), McAughtrie. Subs not used: Newman, Momba.
* Tonight, Sunderland U23s return to Premier League 2 action with a visit to Arsenal (7pm kick-off).
The Black Cats are level with bottom club Manchester United, but will go from 11th to seventh with a win.