Aston Villa U21 6-4 SAFC U21
A 10-goal spectacle ensued at Bodymoor Heath on Friday night, as Sunderland Under-21s went down 6-4 against Aston Villa.
Seb Revan gave Villa an early lead from the penalty spot, before Kadan Young made it two.
Caden Kelly pulled one back for the Lads, but Arjan Raikhy put the hosts into a 3-1 lead at half-time.
Rory Wilson made it four, Kelly added his second for Sunderland to make it 4-2, before Omari Kellyman and Wilson’s goals extended the scoreline to 6-2.
Tommy Watson and Harry Gardiner’s strikes pulled it back to a 6-4 full-time result, which rounds off February.
The side for the encounter included Joe Anderson, who played the full match as our most recent recruit gains match sharpness.
Villa flexed their muscle early in the game and spent the majority of the first quarter of the match in the Sunderland half.
The opener came via the spot in the 12th minute, as Young was felled in the area, referee Scott Simpson showing no hesitation to award the penalty.
Skipper Revan put the hosts into the lead by sending Adam Richardson the wrong way, and three minutes later the deficit was doubled.
Kellyman received the ball in a dangerous area and threaded a pass into the left-hand side of the area, which Young latched onto and slotted into the far corner.
Just before the half-hour mark was when Sunderland began to gather a foothold, and sustained this for the next few minutes, making it count.
Watson picked up the ball on the left flank and centred it for Kelly, who timed his run and finished well from 10 yards.
But after Gardiner’s slightly miscued volley was collected by Oliwier Zych and another attack was absorbed by Villa, a counter saw them win a perhaps soft free-kick in a very threatening area 22 yards from goal.
Raikhy sent a low side-footed effort into the bottom corner to catch out the Lads, who were forced to head in at the break trailing 3-1.
The second half saw Villa fly from the traps and make it 4-1 within the first minute, as Wilson found the net.
Kelly whipped in a great strike to pull it back to 4-2, his second of the game.
Kellyman’s neat finish and a thunderous strike from Wilson made it five and six respectively as the contest looked to run away from the Lads, as the half approached its midway point.
The last quarter of the game witnessed an improvement from Graeme Murty’s team, as Watson slotted in a left-footed finish for 6-3, before Gardiner did likewise inside the area with six minutes to go.
Captain Ellis Taylor struck inches wide from distance with a chance which would have provided a hugely interesting finale, but the Lads finished the wrong side of the goal-fest.
Next up is a return to Eppleton a week on Monday, as Stoke City visit DH5 as the first of just four PL2 games to play.
SAFC U21: Richardson; Wilson (Crompton 58’), Johnson, Anderson, Taylor ©; Burke (Moore 71’), Scott; Middlemas (Chiabi 82’), Kelly, Watson; Gardiner.
Subs not used: Young, Jessup.