Black Cats Unlucky for Morecambe.
Morecambe welcomed Jack Ross’ Sunderland Academy side in the Northern EFL Trophy Group A tonight at the Globe Arena. This was a contest which meant nothing to the hosts, who were already mathematically unable to progress to the next stage of the competition due to their position at the bottom of the mini-league. There was a big crowd – by Shrimps standards – to watch this contest, with the Black Cats bringing an astonishing fifteen hundred supporters with them. So this would have been like a home game as far as Sunderland were concerned. They also brought a handful of first teamers with them in their attempt to consolidate their position at the top of the group.
The hosts were immediately on the attack against the team in the unfamiliar all sky-blue strip and Luke O’Nein was in the right place at the right time when he cleared a Jason Oswell header off his own line in the very first minute. Alex Kenyon then hit the post with an effort from all of twenty-five yards after nine minutes before Jordan Hunter stung the hands of Mark Halstead in the home net with twenty-five minutes played at the end of a move which started with their own goalkeeper. Shortly afterwards, Halstead again did well to deal with a dangerous ball from Jake Hackett. At the other end, Sam Lavelle had a chance after Robbin Ruiter in the visitors’ goal missed a cross which hit his post and rebounded to the Shrimps’ defender. With pacey Jack Diamond looking lively for the visitors, it was a fairly even contest of few chances which ended all square and goal-less at half time.
Jordan Hunter missed narrowly early in the second half for the team from Wearside before Jack Diamond forced Mark Halstead into a save in the home goal shortly afterwards. Former Everton man Bryan Oviedo then had an effort blocked after 56 minutes which rebounded to Diamond whose effort was also cleared for a corner kick as the visitors dominated possession early in the second half. But Morecambe gradually got on top after about twenty minutes and forced a succession of corners but Ruiter in the visitors’ goal wasn’t tested despite efforts such as that from substitute Joe Piggot, which went narrowly over the bar. Kevin Ellison slung over a fairly routine cross which the Sunderland keeper struggled to field with about eighty minutes played. Sam Lavelle also went close again after 83 minutes as Morecambe were asking most of the questions. But as so often has been the case in recent times, the Shrimps were caught on the break as Oviedo made progress down the wing on a counter-attack during injury time and slung over an accurate cross which Josh Maja buried to ensure his team won the game and stayed at the top of the pile as far as qualification for the next round is concerned.
Morecambe: 21 Mark Halstead; 16 Sam Lavelle; 3 Luke Conlan; 14 Josef Yarney; 27 Jordan Cranston; 26 Florent Cuvelier (Y)(6 Andrew Tutte 57 mins); 4 Alex Kenyon (Y) ; 12 Jason Oswell ; 11 Kevin Ellison; 19 Carlos Mendes-Gomez (24 Joe Piggott 68 mins); 7 Garry Thompson (Y)(25 Ben Hedley 76 mins).
Subs not used: 13 Dawid Szczepaniak; 5 Steven Old; 23 Tyler Brownsword; 14 Liam Mandeville.
Sunderland: Robbin Ruiter; Jack Bainbridge; Alim Ozturk; Glenn Loovens; Bryan Oviedo; Max Power; Jake Hackett (Daniel Neil 90 mins); Luke O’Nein; Jack Diamond (Lee Connelly 72 mins); Jordan Hunter (Brandon Taylor 72 mins); Josh Maja.
Subs not used: Anthony Patterson; Ryan Leonard; Williams Kokolo; Jacob Young
Ref: Paul Marsden.
2377 (1569 from Wearside.)