SUNDERLAND’S youngsters were able deputies for Lee Johnson as they saw off Manchester United’s Under 21’s side with a 2-1 win in the Papa John’s Trophy.

The victory means it’s two wins from two for the Black Cats in Group F as they look to retain their trophy at the first time of asking.

Within just two minutes, Sunderland’s inexperience was on show but it was their most senior head who was at the heart of a near calamity.

Denver Hume’s short backpass allowed Joe Hugill to intercept the ball and round the keeper but his effort at the angle hit the post. The rebound then fell to Dillon Hoogewerf who lost his footing at the vital moment and failed to convert from ten yards out. A let off for captain Hume and co.

Just before the 15 minute mark, Sunderland returned the favour through an unlikely source.

United’s youngsters failed to clear a cross as the ball as looped up into the air. Former Hartlepool man and right back Kenton Richardson showed great invention and returned a volley over his head goalwards but the ball smacked the base of the post and out. That would have been a memorable way to score your first senior goal.

There was plenty of youthfulness in Manchester United’s players but you could tell there was a serious crop of talent on their hands with plenty of skill and pace on show. Sunderland were more than matching their Premier League opponents but perhaps were just hell bent on playing the Hollywood pass rather than working the lines like the manager Lee Johnson likes to see.

The Black Cats boss continued to inspect from the dugout as the home side tried to carve out openings in the United rearguard. Hume’s cross from the left met the head of Will Harris who got underneath the ball and headed over the bar while Harris tried to finish with a long strike minutes later which keeper Dermot Mee was alert to diving low to his left.

Dutch prodigy Hoogewerf had the lions share of United’s chances but it was Fernandez who tested the woodwork again.

Hoogewerf cut inside the box onto his left foot but his goalbound effort was mightily blocked by Younger who put his body on the line. United then returned the chance from the right as Alvaro Fernandez struck low but his deflected strike hit the post. The rebound then fell to Charlie McNeil at the angle who’s third bite of the cherry could only see the ball slam into the side netting.

An interesting first half showing from both sides with both sets of youngsters putting each other to the test.

Some might have seen Johnson’s switch to young personnel as a bit of risk but their roll of the ‘Dyce’ paid off five minutes into the second half.

Harris seized on a short back pass to strike first time in the box and keeper Mee parried the ball away diving to his right. Dyce still had plenty to do from the rebound with the ball just escaping his control but he slammed the ball first time high into the net to give Black Cats the lead.

United’s youngsters hit back almost immediately when that raw talent was thrown into the spotlight.

18-year-old Zidane Iqbal picked up the ball from a short corner and managed to manoeuvre some space away from the defender before curling the ball into the top right hand corner. A special goal from the youngster to bring United level.

But the elation was short lived as the Black Cats clawed their way back in front ten minutes later.

Patrick Almond’s surging run ate up the space in the United half before threading the ball through to Ellis Taylor. His floated cross from the right was met by the head of the advancing Stephen Wearne who glanced the ball into the bottom right hand corner.

It was Wearne’s second senior goal in consecutive game and you could see the delight on his face.

The small Sunderland crowd and handful of United supporters didn’t have much to sink their teeth into for the remaining 25 minutes of the game as United threw bodies forward in search of an equaliser.

As for the home side, the Papa John’s Trophy remains a source of success with two wins out of two with another win that does no harm to their prospects of retaining the trophy.

SUNDERLAND (4-2-3-1): Carney; Richardson, Almond, Younger, Hume (Kachosa 71’); Sonha, Scott; E Taylor (Kelly 90’+), Wearne (Johnson 90’+), Dyce; Harris

Subs not used: McIntyre, Jessup, Ryder, Middlemas

MANCHESTEER UNITED U21’S: Mee, Hugill (Norkett 80’), McNeill, Wellens (Jurado 90’+), McShane, Hardley, Hoogewerf (Forson 80’), Savage, Iqbal, Fernandez, Mather

Subs not used: Vitek, Bennett, Ennis, Murray