Sunderland U18s 1 Manchester Utd U18s 2: Dunne strike’s not enough for 10-man Black Cats

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Visitors Manchester United edged a tight Under-18 Premier League Northern Division game 2-1 to claim the points against Sunderland at the Academy of Light on Saturday, writes Neville Pilkington.

The Wearsiders had come from behind to level and the game was heading for parity until late in the match when United grabbed the winner.

After a quiet opening, United took the lead on 30 minutes when Sunderland conceded a penalty, with full-back Williams Kokola bringing down an opponent in the area. Tahith Chong stepped up to coolly drive the ball down the middle, with Sunderland keeper Anthony Patterson diving to his right.

But, just eight minutes later, the young Black Cats hit back to equalise.

They broke well, with Jordan Hickey driving down the left before cutting back for striker Robbie Dunne to strike decisively low into the bottom corner from 12 yards.

The game could have gone either way in the second period.

Hickey, for Sunderland, fired in a great shot from 20 yards which was turned round the post by keeper Alex Foticek.

But the hosts suffered a big setback when they were reduced to 10 men following a flare-up on 74 minutes, with Tom Howard being sent off.

Sunderland now came under pressure and Patterson was forced to make a brilliant tip over the bar from Chong’s close-range effort at the far post.

However, the same player did register his brace nine minutes from time when he rolled the ball into the net from four yards to notch the winner.

Sunderland coach Mark Atkinson said: “Our work ethic was fine, but we lacked a bit of belief to enable us to take the game. We broke well but did not have the necessary quality to finish.”

Defeat kept the Black Cats in seventh place, while United rose above Everton into third place. Sunderland visit Derby County this coming weekend.

Sunderland: Patterson, Howard, Edmundsson, Young, Kokola, Leonard (Greenwood 65) Hickey, Scothern, Dunne (Slack 75), Mumba, Connelly (Evans 76).

Manchester Utd: Foticek, Laird, Tanner, Dunne, O’Connor, Galbraith (Ramizini 60), Chong, Pugmail, Mellor (McGee 84), Levitt, Baars (Greenwood 60)