Lincoln City 1-2 Sunderland AFC
Sunderland picked up where they left off in the Papa John’s Trophy on Tuesday night, overcoming Lincoln City 2-1 in the club’s Group F opener.
A young side did a tremendous job at the LNER Stadium, with Stephen Wearne scoring his first goal for the club which proved to be the difference in the second half.
Dan Neil’s exquisite early strike opened the scoring just two minutes in, with Lewis Montsma’s excellent hit proving a consolation for Lincoln.
Lee Johnson made several changes to his starting line-up for the contest, handing full debuts to Under-23 players Kenton Richardson, Harrison Sohna and Will Harris.
Denver Hume was named in the team for the first time since his injury aggravated at the very same ground nearly five months ago, and Neil captained the side with Lee Burge, Fred Alves and Alex Pritchard also starting.
Before the game even had a chance to settle, the teenage midfielder and stand-in skipper produced a moment of real quality, receiving the ball from Aiden O’Brien and rocketing a strike past Sam Long with just 90 seconds on the clock.
It was a nerve-settler for the young Sunderland side, who dealt with a spell of Lincoln possession which culminated in chances for Remy Longdon and former Black Cat Chris Maguire – both of which were parried out well by solid diving saves from Burge.
O’Brien almost found the net with what initially appeared to be a stunning curling strike from the left-hand side, but found his shot come back off the outside of the far post.
Harris got in behind to see his shot denied by Long early in the second half, shortly after Burge had tipped over Jamie Robson’s deflected strike.
Wearne entered the field after 63 minutes and took just nine minutes to register himself as a Sunderland goalscorer, reacting first to a header in the box to guide the ball over the line.
A concerning part of the evening came when Luke O’Nien was forced off just five minutes after coming on as a substitute, being withdrawn as a precaution after twice going down.
A roaring shot from Montsma halved the deficit for Michael Appleton’s side in the third minute of added time, after Ollie Younger had terrifically denied Dan Nlundulu with a great block.
A fine night’s work and a memorable evening for several starlets of Wearside.
SUNDERLAND AFC: Burge; Richardson, Younger, Alves, Hume; Neil ©, Sohna; O’Brien, Pritchard, Taylor (Wearne 63’); Harris (O’Nien 78’, Embleton 83’).
Subs not used: Carney, Almond, Newall, Kachosa.
Lincoln City: Long, Poole ©, Montsma, Sanders, Maguire (Nlundulu 68’), Scully, Adelakun, Walsh (Eyoma 46’), Longdon (Bramall 68’), Sorensen, Robson.
Subs not used: Boylan.
Attendance: 3,060 (659 SAFC supporters)