Hartlepool United 0 Sunderland 3: James Hunter's match analysis

Sunderland's youngsters take centre-stage again as the Black Cats make it three wins out of three in pre-season

Hartlepool United v Sunderland
Hartlepool United v Sunderland


Sunderland's youngsters spared the Black Cats’ blushes for the second time in 24 hours to preserve Gus Poyet’s 100% pre-season record.

Just as at Carlisle United the previous night, Poyet played a senior starting XI against Hartlepool United at Victoria Park before giving youth a chance just after the hour mark.

As at Carlisle, it was goalless when he made his changes, with the young guns going on to win the game. Forward Carl Lawson broke the deadlock in the 70th minute, with right-back Peter Cartwright adding the other goals in the 72nd and 78th minutes – although his second goal needed the aid of a deflection.

As expected, Poyet’s starting line-up included all the members of his first-team squad who did not feature in the win at Carlisle.

Costel Pantilimon was the only summer signing on show, but Adam Johnson returned from a minor injury to make his first appearance in pre-season and teenage trialist Max Clayton also started.

Duncan Watmore played at right-back with David Ferguson on the left, while John O’Shea was partnered by Valentin Roberge in central defence.

Johnson and Clayton were the widemen, with Seb Larsson, Lee Cattermole and El-Hadji Ba the central midfield trio, while Steven Fletcher led the line up front.

League Two Pools gave their Premier League neighbours an early scare when a deflected cross from the right dropped to Luke James at the far post and Pantilimon had to use his foot to deflect the striker’s low shot wide for a corner.

However, the Black Cats began to take control with Clayton curling a shot just wide of the right-hand post in the fifth minute and then Ba’s through ball releasing Fletcher on the quarter-hour - only for the Scot to be denied by a smart save from Scott Flinders at the foot of his right-hand post.

Sunderland went closer still in the 27th minute when Johnson seized upon a poor pass from Stuart Parnaby and raced through the middle into the penalty before laying the ball to his right for Fletcher.

The striker steered his shot beyond Flinders, but the ball hit the left-hand post and came back out.

The start of the second half followed a similar pattern, Sunderland just unable to find a finish.

Pools could have made them pay 10 minutes after the restart when Roberge was dispossessed as he tried to bring the ball out of defence - although when the shot came in from Parnaby it was at Pantilimon.

Poyet made his substitutions in the 62nd minute - and the youngsters wasted no time in making an impact.

A long spell of Sunderland pressure ended with Mikael Mandron, who had scored the winner against Carlisle, laying the ball off to Lawson just to the left of the D and he curled his shot beyond the goalkeeper into the right side of the net.

Sunderland doubled their lead two minutes later as Lynden Gooch fed the ball to overlapping full-back Cartwright on the right side of the area and he poked it past Flinders into the bottom right-hand corner. The third goal came 12 minutes from time, Cartwright’s cross from the right taking a deflection off Pools’ defender Matthew Bates and going beyond his own goalkeeper.

SUNDERLAND (first 62mins): Pantilimon, Watmore, O’Shea, Roberge, Ferguson, Cattermole, Johnson, Larsson, Ba, Clayton, Fletcher

SUNDERLAND (final 28mins): Pickford, Cartwright, Harrison, Beadling, Robson, Gooch, Smith, Agnew, Honeyman, Lawson, Mandron

HARTLEPOOL: Flinders, Duckworth, Austin, Bates, Holden, Walker, Parnaby, Miller, Compton (Smith 73), Harewood (Franks 46), James.

ATTENDANCE: 5,617 (3,252 Sunderland fans).

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