By Ollie Cranham-Young
- United beat league leaders Sunderland
- Tyler Reid scored the only goal of the game
Tyler Reid score the only goal of an eventful match in the North East, as United defeated league leaders Sunderland by one goal to nil to move up to 7th in the under-21s league. Leaving the defending Champions 9 points behind the North East side, but have five games in hand on them.
United became only the second team to beat Sunderland this season with the other being Reading and tonight’s game was the first time this season that Sunderland have failed to score, which shows the quality of a United defence which included an in-form Varela.
Sunderland were aggressive from the off and nearly scored within the opening 10 seconds but to be denied by Varela who turned out to be the rock at the back for United.
The Black Cats had plenty of chances within the opening 10 minutes but failed to convert any of them including two volleys from Agnew but both went flying over the crossbar. Mandron also had a perfect shooting opportunity but failed to capitalise on this as he blasted the ball wide.
United’s Ashley Fletcher nearly scored after just under 20 minutes when the Sunderland keeper Mannone got tied in between his defence on the edge of the box which forced the ball to luckily just tumble out of Fletcher’s reach.
Sunderland continued to dominate possession in the first half, but kept missing their chances after a free kick going straight over the bar, not troubling United goalkeeper Sam Johnstone in the slightest.
Many thought that United deserved a penalty on 38 minutes when Sunderland defender Watmore blocked James Weir’s cross that was making its way toward Ashley Fletcher, who would have had a clear cut opportunity on goal.
Sunderland surviving a penalty claim was probably the biggest talking point of the opening 45 minutes, however they had been the better side as they produced some magnificent runs down the left hand side but unfortunately could not produce the end product.
The closest that United had come was possibly one minute into stoppage time, when Sunderland goalkeeper Vito Mannone was called into action to block a long-range attempt from Matty Willock
The Reds were undoubtedly the stronger side of the second half, and had started the half with more pace, optimism and physically, more of a threat to the Sunderland defence.
They were extremely firm from the restart, maybe from an inspiring half-time team talk from manager Warren Joyce and always looked like the side who were going to break the deadlock.
United were finally rewarded when substitute Tyler Reid, who had come on in place of Willock, calmly slotted the ball past Mannone on 75 minutes following a flick on from Ashley Fletcher following Johnstone long kick.
Johnstone saved a Watmore header and Tom Robson was booked for diving late on as he showcased his best attempts at appealing for a late penalty.
Sunderland goalkeeper Mannone made his way up the field for Sunderland’s corner in the last minute of stoppage time and although the corner was taken early he managed to produce a shot from outside the box which was only to be blocked by the scramble of United defence.
Tyler Reid’s goal proved to be the decisive moment in a game which saw the league leaders defeated for a second time this season and Reid achieve his first competitive goal for the Reds, which we hope it to be the first of many.
Our Man of the Match: Despite it being a fantastic team performance from Warren Joyce’s side, we have selected our man of the match as Ashley Fletcher, solely down to the major part he played throughout he game, including his fantastic flick of an assist to substitute Tyler Reid who scored what turned out to be the only goal of a physical match.