Cats youngsters edged out at Liverpool
Sunderland Under-18s resumed their league programme after the Christmas break by suffering a narrow 1-0 defeat at the hands of leaders Liverpool at Melwood, writes Neville Pilkington.
Because of injuries to the strikers, the game plan was a defensive 5-4-1 formation, set up to largely frustrate and contain the Reds and it almost worked.
Normal wide man Ryan Leonard was alone up front and although slight of build, used his pace well down either side of the central defenders.
The plan limited Liverpool to just one shot on target in the first half in the 32 second minute which keeper Anthony Patterson turned round the post in fine style.
The second half continued in the same vein but the hosts did get the breakthrough with the only goal on the hour mark.
It was scored by Lewis Longstaff - a former Newcastle Academy player who switched to Liverpool at the age of 14 who shot just inside the post from 15 yards.
Sunderland now pushed tall defender Andreas Edmundsson up front in a bid to come back and the lad from the Faroe Isles did cause problems but unfortunately for Sunderland there was no end product.
Coach Paul Bryson said: “We played well with purpose and good discipline especially when out of possession which was often the case against the top of the league side.”
Sunderland: Patterson, Triallist (Kennedy 46), Edmundsson, Derbali, Almond, Howard, Smith (Devine 75), Evans, Scothern, Miller (Slack 45), Leonard. Subs not used: Bassey, Lilley.