Sunderland 2-1 Spurs (PL2)
Report from ECWG
11 August 2017|Tottenham Hotspur
Our Under-23s looked set to end their hoodoo at Sunderland but two late goals denied them any reward for a promising start to the Premier League 2 campaign on Friday night (August 11).
We travelled to the Eppleton Colliery Welfare Ground without a win in five attempts against the Black Cats in the Under-21 Premier League/Premier League 2 era and the home side lined up with plenty of top flight experience including Bryan Oviedo, Papy Djilobodji and Jack Rodwell.
However, victory looked on. Kazaiah Sterling's first-half strike gave the team a deserved lead and goalkeeper Brandon Austin was in inspired form as the home side started to turn the screw in the second half.
Unfortunately, we played a part in Sunderland's equaliser on 70 minutes and then the heartbreaking late winner from Denver Hume arrived with 89 minutes on the clock.
Good start: Miller denied - 15mins
Kicking-off in a 4-2-3-1 formation and captained by Joe Pritchard, the team started well and came close to opening the scoring 15 minutes in when Will Miller's low shot from the edge of the box was tipped aside by Sunderland's new goalkeeper Robbin Ruiter.
Save: Austin there during Sunderland's best spell - 22mins
Lynden Gooch is always lively at this level and had two chances as Sunderland started to feel their way back into the game. He curled wide from 20 yards on 16 minutes and then forced a fine save from Austin, who got down quickly to grasp his shot from 12 yards.
Goal: Sunderland 0-1 Spurs - Kazaiah Sterling - 35mins
The team's quick press unsettled the home side and we took a deserved lead on 35 minutes. Oliver Skipp made a poor Sunderland clearance his own, powering a header over the hosts' square back line - perfect for the pace of Sterling, who got onto the ball, drove into the box and fired home low from 12 yards.
Chances: Austin tested, Tanganga hits the bar - 46-65mins
Sunderland looked to get onto the front foot at the start of the second half and after Andrew Nelson pinged over from the edge of the box, Austin was forced into another fine save, this time springing at full stretch to tip over Ethan Robson's free-kick. Austin then grabbed a tame Nelson volley but was soon tested further by the same player, this time getting down to his left to palm away. However, we came closest to a goal when Japhet Tanganga climbed well to meet Miller's free-kick and power a header onto the underside of the crossbar.
Above: Substitute Marcus Edwards in action.
Goal: Sunderland 1-1 Spurs - Ethan Robson - 70mins
Sunderland had tested us but unfortunately, their equaliser was of our own doing as Pritchard's pass was picked up by Robson in a central area, 35 yards from goal. Robson strode forward before hammering home from 20 yards.
Late penalty call: Edwards denied - 83mins
Keanan Bennetts and Marcus Edwards added pace down the flanks off the bench in the latter stages and Edwards had a strong call for a penalty late on when he looked upended by two defenders, but appeals were waved away.
Goal: Sunderland 2-1 Spurs - Denver Hume - 89mins
Both teams were looking for the win and Sunderland found it with a minute to go. Hume wriggled out of a couple of challenges, worked a yard of space and shot low beyond Austin into the far corner.
Last chance: Loft denied - 90+4mins
There was one last opportunity in the final minute of added time as Ryan Loft broke into the box and drilled at goal from the left angle, but Ruiter stood strong to block with his feet.
Coach Wayne Burnett said
"Certainly in the first half we controlled the game, I was really pleased with how we played, how we applied ourselves and how we went about it. We had some decent chances and were really in complete control of the game. We spoke at half-time and said we needed to do similarly in the second half. We knew they'd probably change their game plan and come and press us a little more which they did, then at 1-0 we had a glorious chance, Japhet's hit the bar but it's not gone in.
"Then, being in control of the game, I said to the players afterwards, yes, we were in control of the game but when you've got them in your clutches you need to finish them off but we didn't quite do that, we were a little bit safe at times but we'll learn from that. They're disappointing goals that we conceded, we'll have a look at them, we'll address that and we'll go again. I said to the players, 'be disappointed' but when you come back in on Sunday, make sure you're not disappointed because we have another game on Tuesday night at Luton."
Sunderland: Ruiter, Love, Oviedo (Hume 61), Embleton, Beadling, Djilobodji, Nelson, E Robson, Gooch (Molyneux 46), Rodwell (Bale 61), Diamond. Substitutes (not used): Stryjek (GK), Ledger.
Spurs: Austin, Eyoma, Brown, Skipp, C Maghoma, Tanganga, Tracey (Edwards 74), Duncan, Sterling (Loft 74), Pritchard (c), Miller (Bennetts 66). Substitutes (not used): O'Reilly (GK), S Shashoua.
Goals: Sunderland - Robson 70, Hume 89; Spurs - Sterling 35.
Yellow cards: Sunderland - Love 75; Spurs - Maghoma 38, Eyoma 81.
Referee: Mr G Hart.
Our first home match of the Premier League 2 season is scheduled to take place a week on Monday (August 21) as West Ham come to the Training Centre for a 12noon kick-off. The Hammers are familiar opponents for our Under-23s this month - we also host our London rivals at Stevenage on August 31 in the first of our three group stage matches in the Premier League International Cup. Prior to all that, though, we travel to Luton Town on Tuesday night (August 15) for our first foray into the Checkatrade Trophy. Kick-off is at 7.45pm.