Sunderland consolidated their position at the top of the Under-21 Premier League after a 1-0 victory over Liverpool.
Defender Michael Ledger’s second half header proved sufficient for Robbie Stockdale’s side to come away with maximum points at the Stadium of Light, as Liam Bridcutt and Patrick van Aanholt both enjoyed a run-out.
Bridcutt, back on the bench in Sunderland’s 1-0 defeat at West Brom, has not featured for the first-team all season, while left-back van Aanholt has been left out for the last two games.
But both completed the full 90 minutes, while winger Charis Mavrias was also involved.
Lynden Gooch and Mikael Mandron were denied by a double save from Liverpool keeper Ryan Fulton in the first half, before Ledger broke the deadlock four minutes after the restart with an unmarked back-post header from a corner.
Mandron twice went close to doubling Sunderland’s advantage, while Fulton produced an excellent save to prevent Mavrias doubling Sunderland’s advantage.
Sunderland: Stryjek, J Robson (T Robson 46), van Aanholt, Bridcutt, Ledger, Brady, Mavrias (Greenwood 83), Agnew, Mandron, Smith (E Robson 89), Gooch. Subs not used: Purvis, Blinco.
Liverpool: Fulton, Whelan (Polgar 87), Hart, Cleary, Brewitt, Virtue, Dhanda, O’Hanlon, Ejaria (T Gomes 57), Alves (Masterson 75), M Gomes. Subs not used: Firth, Lewis.