Sunderland’s five game unbeaten run was ended by slick Manchester City side, but it was a tight contest at the Academy today between two good sides, writes Neville Pilkington.
The result could have gone either way and probably a draw would have been a fairer result for Sunderland deserved something out of the game which was finally decided by a penalty unnecessarily conceded.
Sunderland had the first chance with Andrew Nelson, who led the line well and was a handful for City throughout, putting in a great cross from the right but Rees Greenwood’s first touch let him down and the keeper gathered.
Then striker Isaac Buckley was through, but was dispossessed by Josh Robson who read the situation perfectly,
Both sides were playing well in the perfect conditions for flowing football - damp and windless.
City again threatened but Manu Garcia drove wide and the home side replied with an Ethan Robson free-kick that went well wide.
Just before the break Buckley was through for the visitors but captain Michael Ledger retrieved the situation.
On 61 minutes came what proved to be the winning goal.
City’s Buckley was brought down by Dan Casey just inside the box when there appeared to be no danger from the move - in any case the defender should have, with hindsight, stayed on his feet.
City’s Besant Celina banged the penalty high into the top corner.
The Wearsiders came back well from the set-back and full-back Denver Hume drew a great save from City keeper Charlie Albinson who parried to his right only for Dylan McEvoy to put the rebound wide.
City were still dangerous and Sunderland keeper Gregg Purvis had to turn a hard long distance shot round the post and then blocked well to prevent a second goal.
But three minutes from time, Sunderland were so unlucky when keeper Ablinson spilled a set-piece from Ethan Robson only to recover in the ensuing melee and somehow claimed the ball.
City then saw the game out but since the goal, Sunderland had probably enjoyed the greater possession to no avail.
Post match coach Elliott Dickman said: “It was a really good game and I was pleased with the performance, but it was a poor goal to give away.”
Sunderland: Purvis, Robson J, Hume, McEvoy, Casey, Ledger, Blinco, Robson E, Nelson, Pybus (Molyneux 76), Greenwood. Subs not used: Lowire, Gardner (G.K.), Ellison, Colquhoun.
Man City: Albinson, Tattum, Oliver, Humphries, Wood, Holland, Fernades, Celina, Buckley, Garcia, Nimane.