Wolves U18s 5 Sunderland U18s 2: Bale cracker for young Black Cats in opening-day defeat

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Poor defending was mainly responsible for Sunderland’s disappointing start to the new U18 Premier League season at the Wolves Academy today.

There was no caution whatsoever as both teams went flat out at a very fast tempo throughout, creating many chances, but the home side prevailed and were worthy winners at the final whistle.

In a whirlwind start, the young Black Cats took the lead after only 10 minutes gone, with Jack Diamond whipping in a great centre from the right for Michael Fowler to head home.

The lead only lasted for two minutes, though, as the home side overloaded down the left and crossed for a close-range equaliser.

Seven minutes later, Wolves took the lead when Sunderland were caught by a corner which was taken short and crossed for a free header at the back post.

The Wearsiders fought back to level with a magnificent strike by midfielder Adam Bale, whose shot from distance crashed into the top corner.

But just before the break, the home side restored their advantage with a left-side cross creating a simple sidefoot home.

In the second period, both sides created chances, but Wolves went on to take the game out of sight with two more goals.

On 65 minutes, a deflected shot which could have gone anywhere fell to a home attacker, who crashed the ball home.

Five minutes from time, another cross from the left provided a tap in at the far post.

Wolves’ goalscorers were Brad Carr (2), Nick Tavares, Ryan Giles and Dom Moan.

Despondent Sunderland coach Elliott Dickman observed: “The scoreline doesn’t really reflect the game – we played some good stuff but poor defending cost us the game.

“We needed more care with the final ball as well.”

Sunderland: Woud, Howard, Taylor, Storey, McGautrie, Bale, Hackett, Hickey, Diamond, Fowler, Kimpioka (Leonard 80)