An excellent second half performance saw a Hibernian XI beat Sunderland’s Under-21s at the SAFC Academy of Light.
Goals from Allan Delferrière, Jair Tavares, and Lewis Stevenson sealed the win as Jojo Wollacott saved a Black Cats penalty to preserve a clean sheet.
Nick Montgomery, and his coaching team, took charge of game that saw nine First Team players gain valuable match minutes.
Wollacott completed his second 90 minutes after returning from a hamstring injury, with Stevenson, Rocky Bushiri, Riley Harbottle, and Rory Whittaker in-front of him. Delferrière and Dylan Levitt were in the middle of midfield with Josh Campbell and Jair Tavares either side. Young striker Dean Cleland partnered Christian Doidge up front.
It was a competitive first half in the northeast of England with neither side creating any clear-cut chances. Sunderland’s youngsters arguably had the better opportunities, however, Wollacott wasn’t overly tested.
In the second half, though, it was all about the Hibees’ dominance, and in the 55th minute Christian Doidge had the first big chance of the game.
The Welshman was slipped through one-on-one with Adam Richardson in the Sunderland net, but the young ‘keeper did well to deny his effort.
Just two minutes later, though, Hibs were ahead. Josh Landers – who came on for Dean Cleland – was slipped into the channel. The young striker drove to the by-line, lifted his head and cut the ball back for Allan Delferrière, who smashed the ball into the back of the net.
Moments later it was almost two. Riley Harbottle drove forwards excellently with the ball and combined brilliantly with Christian Doidge, before the striker was again denied by the Sunderland ‘keeper.
Hibs found that second goal in the 60th minute. Rory Whittaker whipped a great cross into the box, which was met by Jair Tavares. The Portuguese winger’s bullet header rebounded off the bar, but the rebound fell kindly to him, and he made no mistake.
Two minutes later, it was three! Landers again involved, this time he capitalised on a short back pass from a Sunderland defender and slipped in Lewis Stevenson, who fired the ball past the goalkeeper.
Around the 70th minute, Montgomery brought on Reuben McAllister, Robbie Hamilton, Owen Hastie, and Rudi Molotnikov, after topping up his First Team players with valuable minutes.
With five minutes to go, Sunderland had the chance to pull a goal back after Hastie brought down an attacker in the box. Eliezer Mayenda stepped up from the spot, but his penalty was saved by Jojo Wollacott.
That was the final action of the game in what was an incredibly valuable exercise for Montgomery and his First Team squad.
Hibs Starting XI
Wollacott; Stevenson, Bushiri, Harbottle, Whittaker; Tavares, Delferrière, Levitt, Campbell; Doidge, Cleland
Boruc; Molotnikov, Hamilton, McAllister, Hastie, Landers