Under-18s Premier League
Manchester United vs. Sunderland
Venue: Aon Training Complex
Date: Saturday, 8 October 2016
Kick-off: 12:15 BST
Manchester United came from behind to secure a dramatic late equaliser to draw 1-1 against Sunderland at U18 level.
It was Lee Connelly who gave the visitors an early lead midway through the first half, as the Black Cats looked comfortable despite finding themselves winless to date so far this season.
They were to be denied at the death, however, as Jake Barrett netted with just moments remaining, not long after appearing off the bench as a substitute.
After nearing scoring from an early corner, Sunderland responded to Ethan Hamilton’s shot that fell just over with the opening goal.
Goalkeeper Michael Woud’s seemingly harmless long ball allowed Connelly to race through, but opposition keeper Alex Fojticek missed his kick, which allowed Connelly to tap home.
Pressure on Woud saw him rush his clearance as the ball dropped to Angel Gomes, but Woud recovered well to deny the low shot, before holding onto Indy Boonen’s rebound.
An unusually subdued Gomes curled just over in an attempt to draw his side level, as half-time arrived on a sunny afternoon at the Aon Training Complex.
After the break, Hamilton’s ambitious acrobatic effort dropped wide without troubling, before driving wide via his weaker left foot.
Substitute Kayne Diedrick-Roberts rattled a shot against the crossbar, as he headed wide from Boonen’s corner later on.
As the minutes wore on, it looked as if a resolute Sunderland back line was heading for a clean sheet, but the resilience of United never gave in.
Hamilton, who showed throughout why he has featured for the Reserves this term, produced a cross which led to a scramble inside the area, and Barrett reacted to divert the loose ball into the net.
United weren’t finished there, having three more chances that could have led to a winner, but the match ended level.
Perhaps unfortunate not to win, the style of play, chances created and never-say-did attitude will please boss Kieran McKenna.
This results leaves United with a credible 16 points from nine games, with a trip to Wolverhampton Wanderers on the agenda for next Saturday.
Manchester United: Fojticek; O’Connor, Dunne, Warren (Barrett 87), Kenyon; Hamilton, Whelan; Boonen, Gomes, Bohui (Diedrick-Roberts 65); Burkart (Barlow 65).
Subs not used: M. Johnstone, Spratt.
Manager: Kieran McKenna
Sunderland: Woud; Hickey, Taylor, Young, McAughtrie; Allan, Bale, Hackett; Diamond, Connelly, Kimpioka.
Subs: Patterson, Krusnell, Best, Howard, Fowler.