FA Youth Cup Report: SAFC U18 2-1 Swansea City U18

SAFC U18 2-1 Swansea City U18

Sunderland Under-18s secured passage to the FA Youth Cup fourth round on Saturday afternoon, coming from behind to beat Swansea City 2-1 at the Stadium of Light.

Both Lads goals on the day came from the two full-backs, Oli Bainbridge and Ben Williams, whose strikes turned the game on its head after Josh Carey’s first-half opener for the visitors.

The game started with Adam Asghar’s side on the front foot, with a strong side fielded which included Zak Johnson, Tommy Watson, Marshall Burke and Ben Middlemas among others.

Watson found himself with the first major opportunity inside the first three minutes, latching onto Mason Cotcher’s pass and firing over after Cotcher and Ethan Moore combined to dispossess Swansea’s defence high up the pitch.

Daniel Cameron in the Sunderland goal was forced into a smart reaction stop to tip Geoffroy Bony’s effort shortly afterwards, with the Lads then winning a penalty after Middlemas was brought down in the Swans’ area.

Cotcher stepped up with a side-footed shot destined for the bottom-right corner, but goalkeeper Ewan Griffiths was equal to the spot-kick to palm it clear.

The penalty save handed Swansea a surge in belief and this in turn resulted in the opening goal, as Carey found space 20 yards from goal to send a low left-footed shot beyond Cameron, who appeared not to see the strike until late through a succession of bodies.

The Lads did respond positively, sporadically creating chances to draw level, with Watson, Bainbridge and Henry Fieldson all going close.

With the scoreline tilted the way of the South Wales side heading into the second half, the Lads needed a lift and finally equalised when Watson beat Griffiths to a forward ball, squaring for Bainbridge – who turned inside his marker before guiding in a composed close-range shot.

And with tails up, Sunderland grabbed the crucial goal with 14 minutes to go, as Williams diverted a smart finish beyond the reach of Griffiths as substitute Will Dowling delivered a pinpoint corner from the left-hand side.

With Swansea now trailing, it was rather the Lads who looked far more likely to extend the lead, particularly enjoying a lot of freedom down the left flank – this resulting in chances for both Middlemas and Dowling.

Iwan Morgan’s shot, blocked by Dowling, was the closest Swansea could get to a potential leveller with the Lads firmly in the driving seat, comfortably seeing out the victory to head into the fourth round.

SAFC U18: Cameron; Williams, Johnson, Fieldson ©, Bainbridge; Burke, Cain (Dowling 66’); Moore, Middlemas, Watson; Cotcher (Waters 71’).

Subs not used: Metcalf, Salkeld, Bell, J. Jones, Lavery.

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