Sunderland rescued a late equaliser against Leicester in an entertaining U18 Premier League Group Two game at the Academy of Light today.
Sunderland had far more of the play in the game and created numerous chances, but Leicester were resilient, defending well, and it wasn’t until four minutes from time that Sunderland grabbed a richly deserved equaliser.
The Wearsiders opened well to go on and dominate the first half, playing good football at a fast pace on the greasy surface.
Their best goalscoring effort came after 30 minutes when Elliot Embleton crashed in a 20-yard strike which was heading for the top corner but was brilliantly turned over the bar at full stretch by tall City keeper Max Bramley.
Five minutes later, Embleton again played in Andrew Nelson and the striker went on to force another great save from Bramley at the near post.
In their first clear-cut chance, Leicester took an early second-half lead. It came from a classic Leicester-style attack on the break. Substitute Layton Ndukwu finally completed the move by shrugging off two tackles to close in and fire past Sunderland keeper James Talbot low inside the far post.
The hosts had the perfect opportunity to level five minutes later from a penalty, after Nelson had been fouled inside the box by defender Alex Pascanu. Captain Dan Pybus stepped up to take the kick, but his sidefooted effort was read by Bramley and turned round the post.
But Sunderland recovered well from the disappointing setback to finish well, with Embleton going close with two super efforts that were just wide.
Justice was finally done in the 86th minute when a long ball down the centre by Chris Allan found Nelson, who held the ball through a tackle with his back to goal to turn and smack the ball low to keeper Bramley’s right for a well-merited leveller.
It was all that Sunderland deserved in a match they could so easily have won with better finishing.
Coach Elliott Dickman said: “I was pleased with the way we played, but we didn’t take our chances. Nevertheless, we deserved more out of the game.”
Sunderland: Talbot, Gamble, Casey, Storey, Hume, Molyneux, Pybus (Allan 73), Embleton, Diamond (Krusnell 75), Yves Poame (Maja 71), Nelson. Subs not used: Hackett, McCulloch.