Sunderland U23 manager Elliott Dickman thought his side were “terrific” despite losing 1-0 to Wolverhampton Wanderers U23s at the Hetton Centre in Premier League Two, Division Two on Sunday.

 

Neither goalkeeper was really tested in the first half, and the game looked set to finish goalless before Oscar Buur rifled a deflected effort off Jack Bainbridge and past Anthony Patterson to condemn Sunderland to an eighth straight defeat in the league.

 

Dickman said: “I thought we were terrific, I thought our attitude towards the game was really good. The team shape was excellent, our application to the game was as it should be and how it needs to be on a regular basis.

 

“There’s lots of positives within the game today, the only downside is that we’ve lost again and it’s a very cruel goal to lose a game on, a deflection.

 

“I didn’t think we deserved to lose the game, we were up against a good side and we restricted their number of chances and we had a really good chance ourselves.

 

“The lads are devasted in there, they’ve given their all, they’ve worked really hard, they’ve given everything on the pitch and that’s all we ask of them. It’s just such a cruel way to lose.”

 

Sunderland spent a lot of the game on the back foot and didn’t create many chances during the game, but the Black Cats should have gone in front with 20 minutes to go, when Benjamin Kimpioka picked the ball off Alex Molberg, only to miss his chance.

 

Dickman added: “We could have gone 1-0 up, unfortunately we didn’t, and the cruel reality of football is you end up losing the game 1-0 through a deflected goal. It could have been a different story, but it wasn’t to be.

 

“It is a game about the two boxes. You saw today Brandon Taylor making some unbelievable challenges and unbelievable blocks, Jack Bainbridge the same.

 

“I think at the other end we’ve got to be more clinical when we do get those chances, than what we did.

 

“Once they’re in this age group they’ve got to understand how important it is and how you’ve got to make sure that the chance that you do get can be the difference between winning and losing the game.

 

“I still think there’s one or two in our squad who find that difficult, but they’ve definitely made improvements.

 

“To see the lads’ improvement and their development and seeing that they are starting to take stuff on board, hopefully that will continue to help them improve as individuals and as a team.

 

“That’s what our job is, our job is to help them develop, improve, help them understand the game, the cruel side and learning from the cruel side.

 

“Today, hopefully we’ll learn a lot from that game that they need to develop, but from where we were to where we are now is really, really positive and we’ve just got to keep going.”