University of Sunderland Men’s 4ths 0-5 York St John University Men’s 9ths
Wednesday 30th January 2019, 1pm GMT
Silksworth Sports Complex

The hosts’ first game of 2019 ultimately ended in a heavy defeat at Silksworth on Wednesday, but there were still notable positives to take from the clash against an impressive York outfit.

“I’m more disappointed with how we played because of how I know we can play”, reflected manager Kris Teale post-match.

His and Jon Jameson’s side had certainly shown they could perform better pre-Christmas, but they will hope that this was a game where any rustiness remaining from the eight-week break was worked off.

And that was somewhat reflected in the pattern of the game. A disappointing first-half, which saw York head in at the interval 0-3 up, was followed by a more encouraging second. Despite the concession of two further goals late on.

The displays of man of match Devon Austin, goalkeeper Cameron Abernethy and Adam Gill also all provided particularly potent silver linings. The nature of the defeat would doubtless have been tougher without their presence.

Sunderland’s start was solid enough, competing reasonably well with their free-flowing visitors prior to the opener.

That arrived in soft circumstances, though, with a corner not being fully cleared before the ball was bundled home via the post from close-range.

That proved a knock for the home side but Austin in particular continued to break up play effectively and use the ball intelligently when he got it.

The second goal, however, came shortly after the first as a York midfielder drove purposefully towards the edge of the box before drilling a low-shot across Abernethy and into the bottom-right corner.

Josh Dunn almost pulled Sunderland back into the game moments later when he latched onto a ball in-behind impressively, but he was just unable to evade the advancing goalkeeper with his first touch.

It would, unfortunately, be York who would complete the half’s scoring, as another burst by the same York midfielder ended with the same result; again, he swept a shot across the face of goal and into the far-corner.

Largely thanks to the excellent Abernethy, the next joy the visitors would have in-front of goal wouldn’t come until deep into the second half.

A succession of impressive stops, including two brilliant one-handed saves from a header and a one-on-one respectively, ensured at least some hope of a recovery was maintained.

Gill caught the eye in his attempts to stage one, with the playmaker offering both impressive hold-up play and intelligent distribution in his advanced role.

York, though, did well to deny their opponents any clear sights of goal despite several initially encouraging breaks.

The rebound from a penalty that struck the post and a clinical close-range finish concluded the scoring for the visitors in the end, as their patient build-up play was rewarded.

The upward curve in the performance level as the game progressed should certainly be a source of encouragement for Sunderland, nonetheless.

And there would be no better time to continue that momentum than this coming Wednesday, when they travel to rivals Newcastle.