It was a rapid start from Adam Lawrence’s champions. With barely 30 seconds on the clock, Malachi Sharpe received the ball on the right flank and raced towards the byline before his smart cut-back left Bendito Mantato with a simple finish to open the scoring.

The lead would only stay intact for a matter of seconds, when Sunderland’s Rhys Walsh raced down the left side and rolled the ball into Aaron Chungh in the centre to fire home the equaliser, creating a near mirror-image of the opener.

It looked like the beginnings of an eventful half to come but the game settled into a calmer flow following that early burst of action.

United, fielding a very youthful line-up, dominated the ball following the initial flurry, with both sides finding chances but Reds’ attacking duo Gabriele Biancheri and Sharpe coming closest to finding the second.


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