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Sunderland U23s 2 Derby County U23s 1 - Unhappy return to Wearside for former striker Darren Bent

Sunderland Under-23 coach Elliott Dickman.
Sunderland Under-23 coach Elliott Dickman.
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It was an unhappy return to Wearside for ex-Sunderland striker Darren Bent as his Derby County U23 side were beaten 2-1 by the young Black Cats.

Elliott Dickman’s options were depleted due to first team involvement for the likes of Ethan Robson, Josh Maja and Joel Asoro, loan deals and the Under-18s being involved in FA Youth Cup action.

Striker Darren Bent pictured when he played for Sunderland.

Striker Darren Bent pictured when he played for Sunderland.

But they produced a spirited display to brush aside an experienced Derby side which included striker Bent, Jason Shackell and Scotland international Ikechi Anya.

Aston Villa spent £18million to sign Bent from Sunderland in January 2011, but it became a miserable move for the ex-England striker, who was farmed out on loan to Fulham, Brighton and Derby before signing for the Rams.

He made little impact against Sunderland Under-23’s as Dan Wright scored twice in each half to claim an impressive victory in Premier League 2 at Eppleton CW, Hetton.

Sunderland took the lead 34 minutes in, under pressure from Wright, Hartlepool-born Rams stopper Jono Mitchell scuffed his clearance straight to the midfielder who scored.

Derby County goalkeeper Jono Mitchell.

Derby County goalkeeper Jono Mitchell.

Wright netted his second eight minutes into the second half, capitalising after a Derby defender appeared to kick the ball out of Mitchell’s grasp.

Luke Thomas pulled a goal back for the visitors late on. Victory saw Sunderland climb a place to 10th in Premier League 2, just three points off Derby in 7th.

SAFC: Woud, Gamble, J Robson, Beadling, Taylor, Storey, Wright, Embleton, Greenwood, Allan, Brotherton. Subs: Edmundsson, Talbot, Poame, Slack.