Sunderland youngsters overcome double setback to hold Newcastle U18s to draw
Sunderland Under-18s overcame two setbacks to hold rivals Newcastle United to a satisfying 1-1 draw at Little Benton on Saturday.
Paul Bryson's side were rocked before kick-off by the news that leading goal scorer Cole Kiernan will be out for the rest of the season due to an ankle injury.
The second blow was that tall lynchpin central defender Andreas Edmundsson will also miss the rest of the programme after suffering a fractured collarbone in the competitive midweek friendly against Aberdeen.
Despite those setbacks, the young Black Cats competed well against the Magpies.
It was a fairly even first half but Sunderland were lacking in the final third despite a lot of play on the counter.
The Wearsiders improved and took the lead on the hour mark. A cross from Ryan Leonard was tucked home from six yards by Connor Slack - just reward for the striker who worked so hard throughout.
But in the 76th minute the Tynesiders drew level. The goal stemmed from a Sunderland free kick taken from the edge of the area by Sonny Best. His effort struck the wall and from the rebound Newcastle broke at speed to catch Sunderland out. Anthony Cole's first shot was saved by Sunderland keeper Adam Cameron but he netted from the resulting loose ball.
Sunderland's Sean Kennedy nearly got the winner 10 minutes from time but his effort just grazed the post.
Sunderland coach Bryson said: "I was please with the work rate and commitment but we lacked quality from outplay in the final third and in finishing."
Sunderland: (4-3-3) Cameron, Triallist (Miller 82). Almond, Derbali, Smith, Evans (Kennedy 60), Neill (Lilley 867), Scothern, Best, Slack, Leonard. Subs not used: Ord, Basey.