Sunderland U23s 4 Leicester City U23s 1 - Huge win boosts survival hopes

Luke Molyneux scored twice for Sunderland Under-23s.
Luke Molyneux scored twice for Sunderland Under-23s.
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Sunderland Under-23s climbed out of the Premier League 2 relegation zone with a resounding 4-1 victory over Leicester City.

The Black Cats leapfrogged relegation rivals Manchester United and Derby County to move out of the dropzone - for 24 hours at least - with one game to go.

Elliott Dickman, Sunderland Under-23 coach.

Elliott Dickman, Sunderland Under-23 coach.

All eyes are now on Derby County's home game with West Ham United on Monday afternoon.

Sunderland have 22 points, Derby - who have two games left - are on 21 points with Manchester United bottom with 19.

Benjamin Mbunga-Kimpioka, a Luke Molyneux brace and Jack Diamond sealed what turned out to be a comfortable victory against the title-chasing Foxes at the Stadium of Light.

Two from Sunderland, Derby and Manchester United will be relegated from Premier League 2 but the young Cats have given themselves a great chance of survival with victory.

Sunderland, lining up in a 4-1-4-1- formation, took an early lead, Diamond found space on the right flank and produced a low cross to Mbunga-Kimpioka, who turned before firing low past Eldin Jakupovic.

It was a superb finish by the 18-year-old Swede and the perfect start.

Sunderland were full value for their early lead, Elliott Dickman's side settled into an early rhythm, restricting title-hopefuls Leicester.

And the hosts double their lead at the Stadium of Light 20 minutes in, Molyneux with an excellent left-footed finish past Jakupovic from 15-yards, low into the right-hand corner.

Leicester should have halved the deficit 24 minutes in, Brandon Taylor's poor pass was cut out by Josh Knight and he skipped past a challenge by covering defender Alex Storey before squaring for Eppiah.

It was easier to score but somehow Eppiah dragged his effort well wide, a poor effort from the Foxes frontman.

However, it wasn't long before they did score, Sam Hughes smashing the ball home from eight-yards after Max Stryjek failed to gather the ball cleanly under intense pressure.

Having got a goal back, Leicester then began to dominate possession, with Sunderland pegged back in their own half as half-time approached.

Mbunga-Kimpioka and Owen Gamble with some last-ditch defending, with Stryjek making a smart save from Knight moments before the half-time whistle was blown.

Sunderland, with assistant boss Kit Symons watching on, started the second half on the front foot, Jakupovic making a smart save with his legs at his near post to deny Molyneux.

Darnell Johnson skipped past Molyneux inside the area before cutting the ball back to Eppiah, again he sent his effort wide of the post.

Sunderland's finishing was in stark contrast to the visitors and they added a third in the 63rd minute, Diamond with another clinical finish after his quick feet opened up space in the area.

Embleton almost scored a fourth minutes later after a quick break, Molyneux heading the ball forward, the 19-year-old beat Conor Wood for pace but his effort was saved by Jakupovic at the near post.

A goalkeeper howler saw Sunderland extend their lead to 4-1, Molyneux with his second of the game after he capitalised on a howler from Jakupovic who missed his kick 20-yards from goal on the left-hand side of the area.

Molyneux was quickly onto the loose ball and rolled the ball home. Leicester's threat was quelled second half, with Sunderland in command.

There was one uncomfortable moment when Stryjek slipped coming for a routine cross but he recovered well and palmed the ball away from danger.

Sunderland end the season away to Swansea City on Monday, April 23.

FT: Sunderland U23s 4 Leicester City U23s 1

Sunderland U23s (4-1-4-1): Stryjek, Gamble, Taylor, Storey, Hume, Bale (Hickey, 86), Mumba, Embleton, Molyneux, Mbunga-Kimpioka (Connelly, 82) , Diamond (Shields, 76)
Subs Not Used: Talbot, Wright.
Booked: Molyneux (40), Gamble (70)
Goals: Mbunga-Kimpioka (1), Molyneux (20, 73), Diamond (63)

Leicester City U23s (4-4-2): Jakupovic, Johnson, Knight, Pascanu (Wright, 45), Wood, Hughes(C), Dewsbury-Hall (Ndukwu, 67), Thomas, Barnes, Gordon (Martis, 71), Eppiah.
Subs Not Used: Martis, Iversen.
Booked: Pascanu (41), Gordon (50)
Goals: Hughes (26)