KEVIN BALL was delighted that Sunderland’s Under-21s “mirrored” their first-team cousins by taking the derby spoils against Newcastle United.
The Black Cats youngsters emerged 2-0 winners over the Magpies at the Stadium of Light last night in the Barclays Premier League– just three days after the first-team’s weekend success on Tyneside.
Development coach Ball told SportMail: “I thought the performance of the first-team on Saturday was brilliant and I thought last night we matched it.
“We mirrored what they did.
“I thought we were very professional and created a lot of chances. If anything, I’d probably be a bit critical of wanting to see one or two more.
“We really didn’t give them a sniff. They had a couple of headers from out wide, but all-in-all, I thought we were very good.”
Both sides struggled to create anything clear-cut in a desperately cagey opening 45 minutes.
But Sunderland took the initiative after the break – taking the lead through a disputed Jordan Laidler penalty and then sealing the victory in stoppage time through a cute finish from U18 skipper Martin Smith.
United were furious at the opener, insisting Remi Streete’s foul was outside the box.
“It was one of those games where it was like the first few rounds of a boxing match when you’re waiting to see who does what,” Ball said.
“I thought all of a sudden after half-time, when we had said someone needed to take it by the scruff of the neck and three or four did that.They all stepped up to the plate.”