Sunderland came from behind to finally dominate and deserve all three points in a very entertaining Barclays U18 Premier League game at the Academy of Light today.
The Red and Whites were distinctly second best in the first half ,with Wolves creating far more goal scoring chances, but poor finishing by the visitors let them down.
Wolves caught Sunderland cold after only five minutes to take an early lead. Striker Jordan Allan shot from 12 yards and the strike took a deflection to leave Sunderland keeper Greg Purvis helpless.
But three minutes later, the home side hit back to level. Keeper Purvis started the move with an immaculate throw out to full-back David Lowrie, who fed Andrew Nelson. He quickly passed to Josh Ezenagu and the striker turned to lose his marker before placing a low shot just inside the post to beat keeper Rhys Bills.
On 25 minutes, Wolves came back and Sunderland defender Dan Casey had to clear off the line to deny them a second.
Then Sunderland’s Ezenagu, who was having a fine match, shot on the turn to bring a great save from Bills as the game swung dramatically from end to end.
The visitors were looking dangerous with every attack and Allan hit the post with a good effort as both sides went flat out to take the lead.
Coach Elliot Dickman brought on two-footed winger Luke Molyneux for Swedish full-back Oscar Crusnell, with Denver Hume dropping back to defence.
The change was effective after only 10 minutes when a Molyneux set piece – whipped in with pace from the left – was headed home at the far post in fine style by defender Casey.
The Wearsiders took over now and, on 68 minutes, made it count when Ezenagu twisted and turned before beating the keeper for his second goal to make the score a comfortable 3-1 and ensure a hard-earned win.
Striker Ezenagu could have grabbed his hat-trick just before the end, but he was thwarted by a save when he elected to lob instead of taking the ball round the keeper.
Coach Dickman said: “We definitely were not at our usual game in the first half, but we dug in and were pleased to be still drawing at half-time.But we took over in the second period, with Luke Molyneux making a difference and Josh Ezenagu and Andrew Nelson also playing well to turn the game.”
Sunderland: Purvis, Lowrie, Krusenll (Molyneux 46), Wright (Gamble 80), Casey, Storey, Nelson, Pybus, Asoro (Graham 78), Ezenagu, Hume, Subs not used: Patterson, Yves Poame