U21 Report: SAFC U21 1-3 Reading U21

SAFC U21 1-3 Reading U21


Sunderland Under-21s were beaten in their Premier League Cup group stage opener on Friday night, losing out 3-1 to Reading at Eppleton.


Kelvin Ehibmatomhian’s hat-trick swung the contest in the Royals’ favour, despite Ben Crompton’s first goal in a Sunderland shirt.


Max Thompson’s dismissal early in the second half made it a further uphill battle, as the Lads start in Group H with defeat.


On a brighter note, Niall Huggins completed 45 minutes in what was his first match action in over a year as he nears a first-team return, and Tom Scott came on as a second-half substitute for his first appearance of the campaign.


A more youthful side took to the field than Monday against Leeds United, as Graeme Murty took charge of his second match in post against the club he captained as a player.


An open first half saw chances at both ends, both Jacob Carney and his opposite number Matt Rowley doing well to save chances from Mamadi Camara and Nathan Newall.


Crompton denied Kelvin Abrefa with a stern block, but after 19 minutes the visitors did take the lead, Ehibmatomhian beating his man and firing in the opener.


He would then double his and Reading’s tally 14 minutes later, reaching and diverting in a cross from the right-hand side.


The striker was denied a first-half hat-trick moments afterwards, as his low drive was touched around the post excellently by Carney.


Caden Kelly forced Reading into action on two occasions along with some neat passages of play from Huggins, and it was Kelly’s corner from the left which forced the Royals’ hand, as his delivery from the left found Crompton at the back post to head in his first club goal.


The second half was not to start with the same momentum, as Thompson found himself shown a second yellow for an alleged foul in the Reading half.


Playing the final 38 minutes a man down, the Lads put in the determination but were unable to create a great deal going forward.


Reading were awarded a penalty with 21 minutes remaining, as Cameron Jessup was adjudged to have fouled his man inside the area during a threatening attack. Ehibmatiomhan stepped up, and blazed the kick over the top.


But he was not to wait long for his matchball, as he found space inside the box and lashed in a third, leaving Carney with no chance.


The Lads were forced to limit the damage late on, substitute Connor Pye deployed as a lone striker against three Reading defenders, but Jessup did well to prevent a fourth in added time with a great block to deny Lui Bradbury.


It ended in a 3-1 defeat in DH5, as the youngsters go back to the drawing board to face Stoke City in nine days’ time.


SAFC U21: Carney ©; Huggins (Robinson 46’), Jessup, Crompton, Newall; Burke (Wilson 79’), Chiabi (Scott 68’); Kachosa, Gardiner (Pye 63’), Kelly; Thompson.


Subs not used: Richardson. 

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