Team Sunderland 2nds opened the season with a 7-0 loss against York St John in their Clash of the Ministers match.

Although the scoreline suggests that Sunderland were outplayed, there were signs of encouragement in the second half after a poor showing in the first half left them 4-0 down at the break.

The hosts fielded a side that hadn’t had much time to gel as a team, as opposed to the visitors who looked much more organised, and it showed when the visitors took an early lead courtesy of their striker exploiting a poorly shaped back line and finished low past the onrushing keeper.

It was 2-0 soon after, the Sunderland keeper failed to deal with a high cross from the left and the ball fell to the YSJ man who showed composure to lob the keeper on the bounce.

Sunderland looked better as the game progressed, cutting out attacks and building play from the back but their makeshift backline was exposed again when St John’s right winger beat his defender out wide and played a low cross for the striker to tap in his second of the afternoon, and it was four at the break when a mix up between the centre-backs allowed the opposition’s right winger to claim a goal for himself with a cool finish through the legs of the keeper.

Team Sunderland started the second half in a 5-3-1-1 formation as opposed to the 4-4-2 that they had started with, this formation offered more defensive solidity and it worked for most of the second half as they held their own with the visitors. The security at the back allowed Sunderland to come forward with the ball more and would’ve created good chances if the final balls had been better.

However, for all of the hosts improved play in the second, three goals in the final 15 minutes meant that YSJ came away from this varsity clash with a big win.

An over-the-top ball caught out the Sunderland defence as they stepped up and the St John striker beat the offside trap who hit a powerful finish from inside the box to complete his hat-trick.

Team Sunderland’s goalkeeper made multiple saves in the second to keep the scoreline respectable but was left helpless when YSJ right winger claimed his second when he fired into an empty net after having his initial shot saved. It was same story with the final goal of the game when the St John left winger pounced to turn in his parried shot to put gloss on an already handsome result.

Speaking after the game 2nds coach Mo said to the squad: “It’s okay, it’s the first game. We don’t know each other, new teammates, new system. The results will come, forget about today.”

He added: “You’ve shown you can all play football, we played better in the second half yes? I know what we need to work on in training; I want to build this team. We resume training on Monday and I want to see you all there.”