Tranmere were knocked out of the FA Youth Cup on Tuesday night, losing 3-1 against Sunderland at Eppleton Colliery Welfare
Andy Parkinson’s side had the better of the opening minutes, winning two early corners and dominating the possession, before having the first half chance of the match on 13 minutes when Ryan Stratulis hit the bar direct from a corner.
At the other end, a save from Ben Jones and two defensive blocks kept Sunderland at bay on 17 minutes but the home side took the lead a minute later. A corner was cleared as far as the right side of the Rovers half but the return ball back in was headed home by Sunderland’s Harry Ord.
The advantage was doubled on 23 minutes, with James Foster receiving the ball six yards out, turning and firing low past Jones.
Jake Burton cut in from the left wing and fired over the Sunderland bar on 35 minutes and George Nugent missed the target moments later after Amr Badhawi’s cross reached him on the edge of the area.
Sunderland’s impressive Bali Mumba brought a save out of Jones on 41 minutes with a left foot shot from a central position 18 yards out
Rovers superbly reduced the deficit two minutes before the break. Stratulis picked up possession wide on the right, cut past two challenges and curled into the top left corner from 25 yards.
Tranmere side went in search of an equaliser early in the second half. Kyle Hayde fired just past the top right corner on 55 minutes and Jake Burton put a low shot a couple of yards wide soon after.
The home side hit back and struck the woodwork twice in five seconds, with Logan Pye and James Foster slamming shots against the crossbar from close range on 68 minutes.
Sunderland restored their two goal lead on 71 minutes, substitute Louis Watts slamming home from six yards from Dan Neil’s cut back.
However, they were reduced to ten men soon after, with Neil sent off following his second yellow card of the night.
Harrison Musuamba saw a late effort blocked on the line following a corner, the final chance of a frustrating night for the U18s.
Tranmere: Jones (Bickerstaffe 70), Badhawi (Corness 45), Gouldbourne, Musuamba, Sinnott, Stratulis, Hayde, Blackham, Burton, Walton (Ferguson 85). Substitutes: Quinn, Shead.