Under-18s continue good form...

Academy action

United's under-18 side continued to an excellent start to 2012 by winning at Sunderland on Saturday.

Billy Ions scored United's first goal after a glancing header from a great cross by Jordan Snodin, and the second goal was an opportunist strike by the in-form Luke Parkin after good approach play by Nathan Turner.

In a well disciplined and high tempo performance, Sunderland were always second best and only good goalkeeping and wasteful finishing kept them in the game.

Alex Cairns was largely redundant but distributed superbly well and was vocal throughout organising his back four. Conor Qualter and Ross Killock were strong at the heart of the defence while full-backs Lewis Turner and Sam Byram pushed on, and were prompting and probing to good effect.

Simon Lenighan was strong at the heart of the midfield and gave the side balance when play broke down while Nathan Turner and Snodin gave good balance and aggression to get the youngsters going forward.

Charlie Clamp was a constant threat just in behind the front two and caused plenty of problems while both Ions and Parking collected deserved goals.

Under-18s coach Neil Redfearn said: "It was a very professional performance against tough opposition and we fully deserved the win after having the lion's share of possession and creating by far the better chances.

"Not only did we score twice, but hit the woodwork twice and missed other good chances when well placed by great approach play."

United: Cairns, Byram, Qualter, Killock, L Turner, N Turner, Lenigan, Snodin, Clamp, Ions (Walters 55), Parkin (Dawson 70). Subs (not used): Grimes, Mowatt, Denton.