Match Reports

Albion draw at Sunderland in Premier League 2

Caylan Vickers's first goal for the club not enough to secure all three points.

By Charlie Hanson • 01 March 2024

By Clive Howes
Casper Nilsson gets down the right.

Albion had to settle for a point at Sunderland in Premier League 2 on Friday night.

Caylan Vickers grabbed the only goal of the first half with a well-taken drive seven minutes before the break, but Tom Chiabi's effort from range deflected in with 64 minutes played for the equaliser.

A penalty for Albion and Luke Bell's sending off looked as if it would prove to be the perfect chance to snatch all three points, but Luca Barrington's spot-kick was saved.

With Premier League 2 the only competition the under-21s are now left in following their exit from the International Cup last week, head coach Shannon Ruth said ahead of kick-off that his team’s main target was to finish as high up the league table as possible, ahead of the end of season play-offs. *

Albion started well and went close to an early lead when Barrington fired over after good play from January signing Kamari Doyle, before Sunderland skipper Harrison Jones’s fierce effort from an angle was tipped over by Killian Cahill.

By Clive Howes
Jacob Slater in action for the under-21s.

Barrington squandered a great opportunity to put Albion in front after 26 minutes when he was selflessly picked out by Doyle in the box, but his attempt to beat keeper Adam Richardson didn’t quite go to plan and the Black Cats stopper was able to dive on the ball.

The visitors' inspiration to take the lead would end up coming from a defender. Noel Atom ventured forward, playing a one-two with Vickers before appearing to lose possession only for the former Reading man to get to the loose ball first and rifle an effort into the bottom right corner.

Jones looked to get his team back in it shortly after the restart when he cut in from the left and narrowly bent an effort over the top right, before Kamari Doyle immediately went down to the other end and saw his effort hit the bottom of the post, smack the back of Richardson and go behind for a corner.

The Black Cats were then denied what appeared to be a legitimate goal on the hour mark when Joseph Ryder steered the ball over the line from close range, but the referee pulled it back for a free-kick.

By Clive Howes
Joe Knight in possession.

If the hosts had been unlucky with that, then balance was restored just four minutes later. Chiabi's effort from 25 yards took a huge deflection off the back of Atom and found the top left corner.

Ruth's team were handed a huge opportunity to retake the lead when Sunderland defender Bell hacked down Louis Flower in the box who was in on goal for a tap-in. The centre-back was shown a second yellow card, but Albion failed to capitalise as Richardson dived the right way to keep out Barrington's penalty.

Jacob Slater's well taken half-volley from the edge of the box was tipped away by Richardson with Sunderland nearly pulling off a shock when they won a free-kick 2 yards from the Albion goal, but Jones's effort was well read by Cahill who saved.

Albion: Cahill, Nilsson (McConville 77), Kavanagh, Atom, Slater, Knight, Robertson (Mullins 61), Barrington, Vickers, Flower (Smith 80), Doyle (Duffus 62).

Unused subs: Fisher.

*After the regular season of 20 match weeks has been completed, the top 16 teams will qualify for a single elimination playoff.

Teams will be drawn against each other based on their league positions, for example the team finishing first will face the team that finished 16th. These will be one-off elimination matches with the higher-seeded team at home.