Barclays Premier Reserve League
Moss Lane, 30 April 2009

Martin (pen 70), James 90


30/04/2009 19:33, Report by Steve Bartram
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Res: United 2 Sunderland 0

United ended the Barclays Premier Reserve League season on a high note, as second half goals from Lee Martin and Matt James gave the Reds a hard-fought victory over champions Sunderland at Moss Lane.

Martin, operating as a makeshift striker once again, won and converted a penalty with 20 minutes remaining, before James struck a superb goal in the final minute to seal only the Black Cats' third defeat of the season.

Although the two sides have both excelled this season, the first half was a scrappy affair, with United indebted to two fine saves from goalkeeper Ben Amos.

The Reds' best effort came from Cameron Stewart, on for the injured Rodrigo Possebon, as the winger lashed a decent opportunity wide from just inside the Sunderland area.

Martin also created an opening for himself before firing wide, but it took two fingertip saves from Amos - one to touch Liam O'Mahoney's curling effort just wide, another to tip over Jean-Yves Mvoto's header - to keep United in the game going into the interval.

The Reds were faster out of the traps after the break, however, and Martin was only inches away from turning in Zoran Tosic's viciously curling free-kick, while Stewart stung Trevor Carson's palms with a fierce drive from a tight angle.

United lost another key player through injury as Fabio limped off, but the hosts' flow was unbroken. Danny Drinkwater fired narrowly over from a free-kick before Martin won the telling penalty, going down under Carson's challenge after the goalkeeper had parried an effort from Tosic.

Although the Black Cats goalkeeper - the scourge of United on several previous occasions - dived the right way, he was unable to get a touch to Martin's powerful kick. He did partially redeem himself two minutes later though, rushing from his line to deny Martin a second.

Sunderland came agonisingly close to snatching a point with eight minutes remaining as O'Mahoney curled a superb free-kick past Amos and into the side netting. The final say went to United, however, as James added a

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Premier League