Report | Swansea City U23s 1 Sunderland U23s 0
Brandon Cooper’s header proved to be the winner as Swansea City Under-23s beat Sunderland 1-0 in Premier League 2 Division 2 at Landore.
The centre-half headed home Keiran Evans’ corner in first-half stoppage time to give the development side their first home win of the season.
Sunderland were reduced to 10 men in the dying seconds when Cieran Dunne was shown a straight red card for kicking out at Daniel Williams.
Ironically, it was Cooper who scored the winning goal in the young Swans’ previous victory of the season when they beat Norwich 1-0 on the opening day.
The result gave the under-23s their first home league win since April 2018 which, coincidentally, was also a 1-0 success over Sunderland at the Liberty Stadium.
Victory moves the Swans onto seven points after six matches in Premier League 2 Division Two.
Gary Richards and Cameron Toshack made two changes to the side that started Thursday’s impressive 1-1 draw with PSV Eindhoven in the Premier League International Cup.
Simon Paulet made his first start of the season in place of the injured Jack Evans, while Keiran Evans was recalled to the starting line-up after appearing from the bench in midweek.
Sunderland – captained by former Swansea defender Jack Bainbridge – made a bright start on a rainy afternoon in South Wales, with Owen Gamble firing an early volley just over the bar.
At the other end, Swansea thought they had taken the lead in the eighth minute when Keiran Evans tucked away Oli Cooper’s cross. But the attacking midfielder was denied his second goal of the season by the offside flag.
The Swans continued to threaten as Oli Cooper shot straight at Sunderland keeper Anthony Patterson, before Paulet’s low shot brushed the outside of the post.
Then, two magnificent interventions in the space of three minutes denied Liam Cullen the opening goal.
First, Patterson produced brilliant reflexes to push his powerful shot onto the bar, while Brandon Taylor was well-placed to deflect another goal-bound effort wide of the target.
However, the breakthrough arrived in first-half stoppage time as Keiran Evans’ corner was met by Brandon Cooper, whose header bundled over the line for his second goal of the campaign.
The hosts should have doubled their advantage within seconds of the restart, with Oli Cooper slicing wide from inside the six-yard box following a magnificent move from the hosts.
Oli Cooper and Cullen were then whiskers away from connecting with Mason Jones-Thomas’ inviting cross in the 54th minute, but neither could provide the vital touch.
The Swans survived a scare in the final 10 minutes as a deep cross deflected off the head of Jacob Jones before drifting just wide of the far post.
At the other end, substitute Josh Thomas could have wrapped things up in the 87th minute after racing away from the defence, but was brilliantly denied twice by Patterson.
Sunderland's frustration boiled over in the dying seconds as Dunne was shown a straight red card after he kicked out at Williams.
Swansea City U23s: Josh Gould; Tivonge Rushesha, Cameron Evans, Brandon Cooper (capt; Cameron Berry, 62), Jacob Jones; Daniel Williams, Simon Paulet (Kees de Boer, ht); Oli Cooper, Keiran Evans, Mason Jones-Thomas; Liam Cullen (Josh Thomas, 62).
Subs not used: Lewis Webb, Matthew Blake.
Sunderland U23s: Anthony Patterson, Bali Mumba, Williams Kokola, Dan Neil, Brandon Taylor, Jack Bainbridge (capt), Nathan Greenwood (Jack Hackett, 58), Ruben Sammut, Lee Connelly, Owen Gamble, Cieran Dunne.
Subs not used: Ahmed Abdelkader, Andrias Edmundsson, Jake Connelly, Kane Evans.