Sunderland 2nd’s stumbled to another defeat on Wednesday although the game was much closer than the final scoreline would suggest.
Northumbria 4th’s made the trip to Ford Hub, with Sunderland seeking revenge from the 3-2 defeat they suffered in the reverse fixture on the opening day. Sunderland were forced into a change of goalkeeper due to Paul Wright’s absence, which meant that Cam Abernethy filled in as a makeshift ‘keeper.
Sunderland started brightly in the opening exchanges, as Milton tested the opposing ‘keeper from distance and forced him into an early save. The hosts continued to apply pressure as Kieron Monarch made his way around the ‘keeper but a brilliantly timed tackle prevented him from opening the scoring.
At the other end, Abernethy was called into action for the first time when he made a smart save to ensure the side’s stayed level. However, after just under twenty minutes Northumbria won a penalty.
Their number nine was sharp to keep the ball in play on the left-side of the Sunderland box before eventually being brought down as he approached the goal. The subsequent penalty was neatly tucked into the bottom left corner, with Northumbria’s first real opportunity of the day resulting in the opening goal.
Sunderland were quick to respond though, as they found themselves an equaliser just five minutes later. Harry Woodward delivered a free-kick from thirty-yards deep towards the back post, where Kieron Monarch headed back across goal.
The ball was cleared but only as far as Matthew Chapman and his powerful strike found its way into the back of the net via a deflection. Sunderland were not level for long as Northumbria regained their advantage virtually instantly.
They attacked with pace down the right wing, before the ball was pulled back and bundled into the net from inside the six-yard box. In an attempt to get back level, Jack Murphy threaded a perfectly timed pass through to Sotiris Kyriakou but his low shot was stopped by the legs of the Northumbria ‘keeper.
Northumbria should really have added a third goal just before the break when they exposed a gaping hole down the right-wing but Abernethy made a smart stop to keep the deficit to one. Sunderland certainly had the chances to be ahead at the break but they could use this frustration as fuel to grab a few goals in the second-half.
Northumbria started the half off with a goal in the first five minutes. A free-kick from twenty-five yards stung the hands of Abernethy but the rebound was converted, which made it 3-1 to the visitors.
Sunderland found a glimmer of hope when Kyriakou was played one-on-one and confidently stroked the ball into the net to make it 3-2. This hope was diminished when the Northumbria centre-forward beat the Sunderland back-line for pace and slotted past Abernethy. The visitors wrapped up the win less than two minutes later when they got in behind before netting their fifth and final goal of the game.
Sunderland can definitely take a few positives despite the result, as they showed great character in spells and had some impressive link-up play in attack.