Monday 24 March 2014, 12:00pm at Academy Of Light, Sunderland
Sunderland U21s
Laidler 17'
Fulham FC
Fulham U21s

17' Goal

Jordan Laidler
Assist by Mikael Mandron

63' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Scott Harrison
Off:Valentin Roberge

84' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Connor Oliver
Off:El-Hadji Ba

90' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Lynden Gooch
Off:Mikael Mandron

12' Substitution

Player was substituted due to an injury
On:Dean O'Halloran
Off:Moussa Dembele

55' Substitution

Player was substituted due to an injury
On:Dino Islamovic
Off:Dean O'Halloran

68' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Alex Brister
Off:Jordan Evans

Read the match report and Kit Symons' reaction to the U21s' narrow defeat by Sunderland.

Fulham Under-21s suffered a second consecutive defeat on Monday afternoon as they narrowly went down 1-0 to a strong Sunderland side at the Academy of Light.

The Whites suffered an early blow when Moussa Dembélé had to be withdrawn after he appeared to take a kick on his hip, but they could have gone ahead when Lasse Vigen Christensen was presented with an opening on the edge of the box after eight minutes, but the midfielder sent his shot wide.

The Black Cats made the breakthrough shortly after when Mikael Mandron was able to set up strike partner Jordan Laidler who converted from eight yards.

Sunderland almost doubled their advantage five minutes later but Jesse Joronen pulled off a fine save to claw away a goalbound Laidler free-kick.

Fulham improved as the half wore on and Lyle Della Verde was unfortunate to see his long range effort fly marginally wide of the post.

The game opened up in the second half, with both teams seeing chances to score pass them by. First, Laidler fired over for the hosts, before Josh Pritchard had a shot that was tipped onto the crossbar.

Louis Laing and Mandron each squandered chances to put the game to bed, although substitute Dino Islamovic was denied by the Sunderland keeper with five minutes remaining for what was Fulham’s last chance of note.

“It was a little bit of a scrappy game,” Manager Kit Symons told post-match. “It was quite windy conditions and a bit of a bobbly pitch, so it wasn’t really a great footballing spectacle, to be honest.

“Both teams worked very hard, both teams were well organised and it was just a little bit scrappy. They got the breakthrough and we didn’t, unfortunately.

“There weren’t a lot of chances either way. Second half we were obviously pressing and trying to find the equaliser and left ourselves a little bit open at the back on a couple of occasions.

“Like I said, we worked very hard, but without that real quality in the final third. We had a few good opportunities in the first half, then their keeper tipped a great shot from Josh Pritchard onto the bar in the second half. That was our best chance really.”

He continued: “From their point of view they scored quite a good goal; ball played into the big striker who got hold of it, then a runner got the second ball and beat Jesse Joronen at the near post.

“So it was a little bit disappointing, and certainly preventable, but other than that they didn’t really have too many chances. They had a few counters in the second half and Jesse made a few good saves.”

Fulham remain second in the Barclays U21 Premier League table following the defeat. The top four teams advance to the Semi-Finals, and Symons is keen for his side to end this phase of the season on a high.

“We play Liverpool next Tuesday and then West Brom the following Sunday,” he explained. “It would be good to finish strongly. The players are putting the effort in and working hard enough, it’s just a little bit disappointing at the moment after doing so well earlier in the campaign.

“We were the only unbeaten team in the league going into February, which was an unbelievable achievement, but the dynamic of the group has changed considerably since then and we’re not quite performing at the same levels. But they’re working hard enough – I’ve got no problems with that at all.”

Match Information

Competition: Barclays U21 Premier League

Date: Monday 24 March 2014
Kick-off: 12:00pm

Venue: Academy Of Light, Sunderland

Sunderland U21s

Line-up: Dixon; Celustka, Cuéllar, Roberge (Harrison 63'), Tom Robson; Mavrias, Ba (Oliver 84'), Laing, Honeyman; Laidler, Mandron (Gooch 90')

Unused substitutes: Stryjek, Smith

Fulham U21s

Line-up: Joronen; Passley, Burgess, Buatu-Mananga, Evans (Brister 68'); Plumain, Pritchard, Christensen, Banya; Della Verde; Dembele (O'Halloran 12' (Islamovic 55'))

Unused substitutes: Oberschmidt, Smile

Manager: Kit Symons

Sunderland U21s (4-4-2)
  • 1Joel Dixon
  • 2Ondrej Celustka
  • 5Carlos Cuéllar
  • 6Valentin Roberge
  • 3Tom Robson
  • 7Charalampos Mavrias
  • 4El-Hadji Ba
  • 8Louis Laing
  • 11George Honeyman
  • 10Jordan Laidler
  • 9Mikael Mandron
  • 13Maksymilian Stryjek
  • 12Scott Harrison
  • 14Connor Oliver
  • 15Lynden Gooch
  • 16Martin Smith
Fulham U21s (4-4-1-1)
  • 1Jesse Joronen
  • 2Joshua Passley
  • 6Cameron Burgess
  • 5Jonathan Buatu-Mananga
  • 7Jordan Evans
  • 11Ange-Freddy Plumain
  • 4Josh Pritchard
  • 8Lasse Vigen Christensen
  • 3Charles Banya
  • 10Lyle Della Verde
  • 9Moussa Dembele
  • 12Max Oberschmidt
  • 14Alex Brister
  • 15Joshua Smile
  • 16Dino Islamovic
  • 17Dean O'Halloran
  • Kit Symons