Caleb-Grant Hughes scored two goals to provide the difference in what was a closely fought game at Eppleton this evening in which both sides registered double digits in attempts on goal.
Both teams faired evenly against one another until Hughes broke the deadlock in the 19th minute with a bit of quality needed to unlock the game and take it away from Sunderland. Hughes followed up with a breath-taking free-kick strike from 30 yards out in the 68th minute settling the game for Cardiff after a period of Sunderland dominance at the start of the second half.
Despite the disappointing loss Sunderland U21 boss Graeme Murty would have many aspects of the game to be pleased with as Sunderland took control in portions of the game however their failure to capitalize on their efforts proved to be their downfall.
17-year-old Daniel Cameron on his debut for the U21s was called into action early on as he saved James Crole’s header out keeping the scores level. Sunderland was eventually punished as Hughes managed to get on the end of a pullback in which his strike found its way into the corner.
The end of the first half proved decisive in determining the outcome of the game as Max Thompson scored after bringing down a loose ball, however after the referee consulted his officials he came to the conclusion that the ball had hit Thompson’s arm therefore the goal would not stand seeing Sunderland go into the break a goal down.
The second half saw a sustained positive period for Sunderland as they created numerous chances testing Cardiff goalkeeper Matt Turner with Thompson creating a great chance beating two Defenders only for his close point-blank shot to be saved. Hughes all but sealed the game for Cardiff with a piece of quality as he scored a free kick from 30 yards out beating Cameron to make the game 2-0. Sunderland kept the pressure on Turner however it proved to be too little to trouble the ‘keeper.
The game ended Sunderland U21s 0 Cardiff U21s 2 with Cardiff sitting three points clear of Sunderland in their group.