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Sunderland development side see off Boro
KEVIN BALL oversaw Sunderland U21s' 3-2 victory over Middlesbrough last night – before taking charge of the first team this evening.
The Black Cats' caretaker manager took in an entertaining fixture between the local rivals, with four goals and a sending off in the first 45 minutes.
Luke Williams opened the scoring for the visitors with a low drive from 25 yards with only five minutes on the clock.
Middlesbrough, with first-teamers Faris Haroun, Andy Halliday, Richie Smallwood and Williams, looked bright on the counter-attack but Sunderland spurned two decent opportunities to restore parity.
George Honeyman saw an 11th minute shot whistle over the crossbar, while Duncan Watmore, one of Paolo Di Canio's 14 summer signings, was denied by Boro keeper Jayson Leutwiler from close range on the half-hour mark.
Sunderland did get on level terms on 37 minutes when Mikael Mandron drilled home from the penalty spot after Adam Jackson handled in the area.
Middlesbrough were reduced to ten men on 40 minutes after former Black Cat Jonathan Burn upended Mandron just outside the box, and Sunderland almost capitalised on this when Mandron was denied on the line from Watmore's cross.
The Black Cats took the lead in fine style through Liam Agnew, who curled a superb strike into the top corner, despite Leutwiler getting a hand to it.
But Middlesbrough levelled on the stroke of half-time when Liam Marrs handled Andre Bennett's cross and Williams made no mistake from the penalty spot.
Watmore, who signed in the summer from Altrincham, impressed for the hosts, showing flashes of talent on both flanks and was Sunderland's brightest player in a quiet second half.
The fleet-footed winger played a part in Sunderland's third of the night when his clever touch inside the area led to Agnew firing in the loose ball from 20 yards.
Adam Mitchell forced a smart save from Leutwiler with 12 minutes left on the clock as Sunderland turned the screw with their numerical advantage.
Watmore screwed an 89th minute effort wide of the upright after strong work by Mandron, while Mandron himself had a shot saved by Leutwiler after the striker shrugged off the advances of Boro substitute Kieran Weledji.
SUNDERLAND: Dixon, Marrs, Ferguson, Agnew (Cartwright 90), Harrison, McNamee, Watmore, Gorrin, Mandron, Honeyman (Lawson 69), Mitchell (Holland 90). Subs not used: Egan, Burke.
MIDDLESBROUGH: Leutwiler, Bennett, Burn, Jackson, Meling, Haroun (Fewster 64), Halliday (Kneeshaw 72), Jones (Weledji 46), Park. Subs not used: Coddington, Waters.
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