SUNDERLAND grabbed a last-gasp winner against a powerful Leicester side in their Barclays U18 Premier League Group Two clash at the Academy of Light today.
The game was a battle, both against the blustery conditions and the strong, determined visiting team, but, in the end, Sunderland just about edged a very tight contest.
They were first to show when Dan Wright tried a shot which flew just wide in the fourth minute.
Sunderland were ahead eight minutes later when Andrew Nelson went down the left-side channel, looked up, advanced and slid the ball into the net under Leicester keeper Max Smith Varnam.
After half an hour, Jordan Blinco cut in from the left but fired well over the top of Leicester’s bar from 15 yards.
The game developed into a fairly even match, but just before the break, rangy City striker Kairo Mitchell went close following a mazy run but finished with a shot which was also well over the top.
Blinco then got in a shot that the keeper just managed to palm around the post.
The second pertiod opened well for Sunderland, with a superb Luke Molyneux cross from the right which flew across the face of goal, with no one able to get a touch.
Minutes later, the same player drove fiercely just past the post, but, on 65 minutes, Leicester came back to level the scores.
Attacker Harvey Barnes broke clear and although Sunderland keeper James Talbot got one hand to the ball, he was unable to prevent it entering the net.
Two minutes later, Talbot had to tip over a strong effort by Leicester’s wonderfully named Admiral McShane.
Sunderland were against the wind in the second half and found it hard going, and only a great double save from Talbot, showing great reflexes, denied the Foxes a second goal.
But a minute from time, Sunderland snatched all three points with a well-worked goal. Nelson cut in from the right to find Blinco, who sidefooted home the winner.
Coach Elliott Dickman said: “It was a very hard game, but we just managed to do it, in tough conditions. What was really pleasing was the reaction shown to last week’s defeat.”
SUNDERLAND: Talbot, J Robson, Ellison, Wright, Taylor, Storey, Molyneux, McEvoy (Embleton 46), Nelson, Blinco, Pybus. Subs not used: Graham, Ganiya, Gamble