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Match Reports

U23s edged in Sunday Sunderland clash

High-flying youngsters lose out at Stadium of Light

4 February 2019

For the first time in 2019, Scott Marshall's Under-23s were defeated - losing out 1-0 against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light on Sunday.

A young Royals side took on the Black Cats at one of the largest grounds in English football, in a squad that saw four U18 scholars gain minutes.

Meanwhile, Tom Holmes was also back involved in central defence, getting a solid 70 minutes in the bank as he works his way back from an injury that has kept him out for the majority of the season so far.

Such has been the rate of progress within our Academy so far this season, only two players who started against Manchester United back in September were involved at the weekend - with plenty of our youngsters either making their way up to the senior fold or heading out and gaining valuable experience on loan.

It was Marshall's men who started the brighter of the two sides on Wearside on Sunday, dictating play and trying to break down a Sunderland side that appeared content to sit behind the ball early on, keeping themselves compact to stop Reading finding a way through.

But the hosts exerted pressure of their own towards the end of the first period, with the Royals holding firm and the teams went in level at the interval.

The game's only goal came around the hour mark, when Jack Diamond cut in from the right flank and managed to strike from distance past Liam Driscoll.

The hosts then sat behind the ball to try and protect their lead, amid a rising tide of pressure from a Reading side that were finding their rhythm in the final 20 minutes of the game.

Sunderland goalkeeper, Max Stryjek was on hand to keep the hosts in front with a series of late saves, with pinpoint crossing from the Royals unable to be converted past the Black Cats' stopper.

In a result that would have been seen as harsh on the Royals, Sunderland shut out the late threats and defended manfully to hold on to all three points on the day.

It was a valuable experience for a largely young squad on Wearside, but Marshall's men drop to 3rd in the Premier League 2, Division 2 table and still within three points of the top.

Next up for our Under-23s will be a trip to face Birmingham City in the Premier League Cup on Friday afternoon, with the youngsters aiming to keep up their 100% record in the competition so far - and they can also secure qualification to the next round with a point against the Blues.

Full-time | Sunderland U23 1-0 Reading U23

Sunderland U23: Stryjek, Taylor, Young, Hunter, Hume, Mumba, Mbunga-Kimpioka, J Connolly (Evans 90+3), Neill, L Connelly, Diamond.
Subs: Bale, Leonard, Storey, Johnstone.
Goal: Diamond 61

Reading U23: Driscoll, Howe, Odimayo, Holmes (Burley 71), Green, East, Lawless (Olise 64), Rollinson, Pendlebury (Nolan 71), Barrett, Liddle.
Subs: Andrésson, Balogun.


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