SUNDERLAND’S development squad showed their senior counterparts exactly how a Wear-Tyne derby should be seized when they comfortably overcame Newcastle’s Under 21 side 4-0 at the Academy of Light.
In-form striker Jordan Laidler scored twice in the opening 10 minutes and Sunderland never looked back in a game watched by Black Cats’ boss Martin O’Neill.
New signing James McFadden had been pencilled in for a possible debut in the game but in the event the Everton midfielder was not involved and that could point to a possible place on the bench against Middlesbrough in the Capital One Cup tie this evening.
The match was not part of the Barclays Under 21 Premier League fixture list – the friendly arranged to give both sides extra match practice ahead of a return to league action next week after a break in fixtures of almost a month.
Yesterday’s game saw Sunderland impose themselves from the start but that did not mean Newcastle did not have their chances and Black Cats keeper Jordan Pickford made two impressive saves before the break to keep his side in front.
Coach Kevin Ball tried something of an experimental selection, deploying midfielders Connor Oliver and James Armstrong in central defence but all the action took place further upfield in the opening stages as Sunderland stormed ahead.
Laidler scored after just four minutes when Newcastle keeper Jak Alnwick parried Alex Gorrin’s shot and the striker was perfectly placed to smash the loose ball in off the crossbar as the visitors’ appeal for offside were turned down.
Newcastle dangerman Adam Campbell almost got his side back on level terms immediately but his shot was well-saved by Pickford diving low and Sunderland swept back up the pitch to double their lead when Laidler found himself perfectly placed again.
This time it was Adam Reed who caused the problems – his fierce shot hit Alnwick’s left-hand post, rolled all the way along the line and hit the other post before Laidler tapped home with the Newcastle defence absent.
Ten minutes later and Sunderland came within a whisker of a third when Craig Lynch connected superbly with a powerful shot and it took a great block by Alnwick to prevent the home team threatening to run away with it.
At the other end Campbell was once again denied by Pickford plunging boldly at the forward’s feet.
From then on, Sunderland were in the driving seat with Lynch causing problems and twice going close to scoring before half-time – forcing a fine save from Alnwick before shooting wide having surged past three players.
Sunderland were even more dominant in the second-half and their third arrived on the hour from the penalty spot after Roarie Deacon was brought down in the box and Reed sent Alnwick the wrong way from the spot.
Newcastle produced little as an attacking force apart from a Dennis Knight free-kick in the 70th minute which Pickford tipped over the bar.
And Sunderland grabbed their fourth in the 88th minute when a Blair Adams cross from the left was not collected by Alnwick and Adam Mitchell ushered the loose ball to substitute Mikael Mandron who slotted home from close range.
Sunderland: Pickford, Marrs, Ferguson, Armstrong, Oliver, Mitchell, Lynch (sub Adams 70), Reed (sub Joyce, 70), Gorrin, Deacon, Laidler (sub Mandron 67).
H Sunderland Under 21s take on Southampton at Eppleton CW on Monday.