Team Sunderland 3-4 York University 6th
Two Tom Ord strikes either side of half-time were enough to succumb Team Sunderland to their second league defeat of the season in a closely fought battle at Silksworth.
Ord’s opener was cancelled out by Sunderland’s Sotiris Kyriakou before a hectic passage of play saw Callum Cheetham restore the away side’s lead only for Kyriakou to equalise immediately once again.
A close-range rebound was turned home by York’s Jenson Joseph but Sunderland skipper Bradley Foster made it all square at the break, only for Ord to strike once again in the second half and take home all 3 points for the visitors.
Team Sunderland went into the clash as favourites and high on confidence having picked up wins in their previous two fixtures, claiming victories over both their own 3rd team and York’s 6th side in recent weeks on the same ground while also beating their opponents in the reverse fixture earlier on in the season.
However, it was the away side that took an early lead when a long ball by Danny Bentley inside 2 minutes dumfounded the Sunderland defence and played in winger Tom Ord, who lofted a beautiful first-time dink over the head of goalkeeper Michael Stephenson.
York enjoyed most of the possession early on and looked in control during the opening stages, but the game sprung to life midway through the first-half following the referee’s decision to award a free-kick against Kyriakou for diving.
The tensions what followed made both teams liven up and what followed was a hectic 5 minute period, as a poor goal kick by York’s Will Daft found Sunderland’s Ewan Jones who slotted in Sotiris for an easy finish.
The Yorkshiremen replied almost instantly when a tangle of legs on the edge of the home penalty area allowed the ball to fall to Callum Cheetham who showed great composure as he coolly dinked the ball over the hapless Stephenson.
Sunderland had a rapid response of their own when Jones caressed a first-time pass through the visitor’s defence which allowed Kyriakou to fire home his second equaliser of the game.
Both teams were battling hard to go into the break with the lead and it was York who took the lead for the 3rd time when a long-range effort by Ord was spilled by Stephenson into the path of poacher Jenson Joseph who won’t get an easier chance to bury home all season.
It looked as though York would head into the second half with a goal advantage down to the superb form of goalkeeper Will Daft, who made cracking saves to deny the home side all afternoon, but a deflected strike from Sunderland skipper Bradley Foster crept into the bottom corner to make it honours following an exciting half of football.
The game did not carry the same energy in the second period of play, with neither side looking as though they were busting the gut to secure all three points.
Midway through the second half, the deadlock was eventually broken when a set-piece from defender Tom Skill found the unmarked Tom Ord who weighted his header perfectly into the bottom corner.
Team Sunderland’s defence was caught ball-watching as the ball was floated in from the right flank in a move that is sure to disappoint manager Chris Mann, who spoke before the game about the importance of his players keeping their heads at set-pieces.
Chances did come for either side, with Stephenson pulling off a fantastic save 1 on 1 to deny Cheetham his second of the game.
The golden opportunity for Sunderland to snatch a late equaliser in the dying seconds came when the ball fell to forward Reiss Elliot just inside the area, who had time to take a shot that was eventually rushed straight into the arms of Daft.
York started the game with 0 substitutions and looked understandably fatigued in the closing stages of the game, but they dug in to secure a well-deserved win and a valuable 3 points against a Sunderland team who were simply not at the races today.
Team Sunderland host top of the table Newcastle University at Silksworth in their next fixture, as they look to get back to winning ways and avenge the defeat suffered in the reverse fixture earlier in the campaign at Cochrane Park.