Sunderland U23s 1-1 Norwich City U23s
Bali Mumba and Ethan Robson featured for Sunderland under-23s on Sunday, as Elliott Dickman’s side played out an entertaining draw with Norwich City.
Both sides created chances in the opening exchanges, but it was the visitors who took the lead as Adam Idah prodded the ball into the net from close range.
The Lads were forced to dig deep as the Canaries continued to push forward, but their resilience was rewarded before the interval as Jack Bainbridge slammed home an equaliser.
End-to-end throughout, the sides continued to trade punches but neither was unable to apply a knockout blow, as an enthralling encounter ended level at the Stadium of Light.
Elliott Dickman named a strong side at the SoL, as 16-year-old Mumba started alongside Robson.
Norwich City carved out the first chance with seven minutes on the clock, with Ant Spyrou flashing an effort across goal and wide of the post.
But it didn’t take long for Mumba and Robson to show what they’re made of.
Three minutes after that early scare, the duo combined following a well-worked short corner to open up the Canaries defence, with Robson’s low effort crashing off the post.
At the other end, Norwich’s finishing continued to let them down.
After robbing Jack Bainbridge of possession and putting together a silky counter attack, Spyrou spurned another glorious chance with a wayward effort failing to test Anthony Patterson.
Intricate play from Kimpioka followed as he somehow found the space to nutmeg his marker inside the box, but John McCraken stood tall to deny the winger before Robson’s follow-up was cleared off the line.
With 29 minutes on the clock the deadlock was finally broke, as Idah poked the ball home from close range.
The visitors continued to pile on the pressure before the interval, but brave last-ditch defending from Alex Storey and Owen Gamble ensured they were unable to extend their advantage.
And with 44 minutes played the Black Cats levelled, as the ball dropped to Bainbridge at the back post and he slammed it into the roof of the net.
Both sides burst out of the blocks after the interval and mustered chances to take the lead.
Long balls proved to be the Lads’ kryptonite in the opening period, and they failed to deal with another following the restart, as Idah struck the post.
Seconds later, Kimpioka continued to torment the Norwich defence, but McCracken produced a flying save to deny the electric Swede.
The Lads were forced into a couple of changes in the half as Jake Hackett and Brandon Taylor limped off, with Diamond coming off the bench and testing McCracken via a thumping drive.
Norwich also had their chances, with Patterson denying Idah before Spyrou somehow missed from two yards, but there was nothing to separate the sides as it ended all square.
Sunderland under-23s: Patterson, Taylor (Diamond 63), Bainbridge, Storey, Hunter, Gamble, Mumba, Robson, Connelly, Kimpioka, Hackett (Bale 48).
Subs not used: Johnstone, Young, Kokolo.
Norwich City under-23s: McCracken, Kavnal, Ricaards, Odusina, Jones, Phillips (Payne 77), Power, Aransibia, Idah, Spyrou, Coley (Scully 90).
Subs not used: Johnson.