Manchester United Under-18s picked up all three points at Carrington on Saturday afternoon, courtesy of goals from Sam Byrne and Mats Daehli.
In blustery conditions, the Reds started the brighter of the two sides, as Sam Byrne clipped the outside of the post early on after good close control in the penalty area. Sunderland goalkeeper Joel Dixon was called into action soon after as he beat away a smart effort from James Weir, and Jack Rudge also came close to opening the scoring, heading wide from Donald Love's cross from the right hand side.
However it was Byrne who broke the deadlock on the half-hour mark, when he was gifted his first goal of the season after a badly misjudged defensive header from George Honeyman. The Black Cats midfielder's attemped nod back towards goalkeeper Dixon fell straight to Byrne close to the penalty spot, and the young striker coolly controlled and slotted the ball under the onrushing keeper.
Sunderland captain Lewis Gibbons was lucky to escape with only a yellow card just minutes later, after a mistimed challenge on Louis Rowley. The Reds continued to dictate the first-half tempo, with Byrne going close to scoring a second goal after good work from Daehli, and Weir's turn and shot flying wide just before half-time.
After not managing a strike on target in the entire first half, it took the visitors just three minutes of the second half to test United goalkeeper Pierluigi Gollini, who did well to turn Mikaël Mandron's powerful effort over the crossbar. The Reds almost scored again as Rudge attempted to emulate his fantastic goal last week against Newcastle with a long-range effort that cannoned off the top of the crossbar, before Byrne curled another effort just past the far post.
Sunderland, who came back from 3-0 down to claim a 3-3 draw in this fixture last season, threatened Gollini's goal again as Callum Hope, played through by substitute Lynden Gooch, attempted to chip United's young Italian goalkeeper who did well to close down the angle, and Hope's effort floated just over the bar.
A whole raft of changes followed, with Kenji Gorre and Matthew Wilkinson entering the field of play, whilst the visitors were forced into a change in goal as Jonathan Maddison replaced the injured Dixon. Maddison was in the action almost immediately, and was lucky to get away with a clearance