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Sunderland U23s lose seven goal thriller

Jack Diamond of Sunderland in action with George Lapslie of Mansfield Town during the FA Cup match between Sunderland and Mansfield Town at the Stadium Of Light, Sunderland, England on Saturday 7th November 2020. (Photo by Mark Fletcher/MI News/NurPhoto)

Sunderland U23s 3-4 Crystal Palace U23s, 23rd November 13:00.

Sunderland U23s were involved in an entertaining match at the Academy of Light, however Crystal Palace proved to have too much quality as they out scored the hosts in a seven-goal thriller.

Equalisers from Jack Diamond and Mitch Curry helped draw Sunderland level twice, after goals from Kian Flanagan and Alfie Matthews gave the visitors the lead twice.

Two late goals from Palace proved to enough in the end, as Rob Street smashed the ball into the roof of the net from close range which was then followed by a Brandon Pierrick’s lofted cross which was eventually bundled over the line by a Sunderland defender resulting in an own goal for Bobby Beaumont.

Rayan Clarke, who is on trial for Sunderland, pulled one back in the 86th however it wasn’t enough as Palace held on resiliently, taking all three points back to the capital.

Sunderland made a number of changes for this match; the most noticeable being Black Cats star man Aiden McGeady, along with young prospects, Jack Diamond and Dan Neil.

Palace began the game a lot sharper than Sunderland and got their reward as Flanagan played a sharp one-two which unlocked the Sunderland defence, allowing him to slot the ball past Patterson using the outside of his foot.

The game was heating up nicely as Diamond was Sunderland’s main threat along side Curry up front and approaching half time Palace thought they would be going into the break one to the good until Neil’s effort crashed off the post straight into the path of Diamond who clinically tucked the rebound into the back of the net using his weaker left foot.

However Palace did still manage to find themselves a goal up at the break as Matthews found himself on the penalty and rose above the Sunderland defence to head palace back into the lead.

Sunderland started the second half brightly and threatened the Palace goal with a Diamond header that came back off the crossbar. Eventually, Sunderland did get their reward as top goalscorer Curry showed desire to latch onto a loose ball from the Palace defence, showing strength to hold of the defender and blistering pace Curry finished his chance despite a touch from the goalkeeper Oliver Webber.

Both sides showed intentions of winning the game as both teams pressed forward, Palace took advantage of the spaces inside the Sunderland box as they took a quick throw into Street who used his strength to hold off and beat his man leaving him a tight angle in which he smashed the ball with venom over Anthony Patterson restoring Palace’s one goal advantage.

As Sunderland went in search of their third equaliser of the day, Palace substitute Pierrick exploited the space that Sunderland were leaving as he fired in a low cross which looped up off Vinnie Steels’ foot eventually being bundled over the line by Sunderland defender Bobby Beaumont.

Trialist Clarke pulled one back in the 86th minute with a tidy finish however it proved to be too little too late for Sunderland as they could not muster one more opportunity.