Harrogate Town Academy's first pre-season fixture of the new season arrived with much excitement from players and staff, with a trip to Sunderland's Academy of Light set to prove a tough test.Despite preparations going well for the fixture, the first half proved to be frustrating against a well drilled organised Sunderland side.
Town struggled at times to implement what had been worked on in training, though still managed to create four clear chances with a high intense press in the wide areas throughout.
This gave us some real positive points to go into half time, though this was not reflected in the score line with Sunderland ruthlessly dispatching all their opportunities and racing into a four goal lead at the break.
Ross McKay's side settled into the game in the second half and started to get success with a more relaxed, calculated approach, keeping to their philosophy of playing attractive football.
Despite the deficit, Town regrouped and started to implement more of our way of playing both on and off the ball; scoring two goals of real quality through Finn O'Boyle and Emmanuel Ilesanmi, as well as showing a more ruthless edge in final third and middle third at regaining possession.
With a More direct approach and better quality in retaining possession, this led to some good chances being created throughout the second half.
Full Time: Sunderland 6-2 Town
Up next for the Academy is a clash with Guiseley on Friday, all in preparation for Friday 6th August's opening league fixture away at Burton Albion's St George's Park.
Town: Giles (Sharkey 58), Wilson, Birmingham, Liddle (Trialist 45), Attree (Barker 49), Trialist, Williams (Sweete 58), Horbury, O'Boyle (Ilesanmi 65), Tweed, Kerr
Goals; O'Boyle (50), Ilesanmi (79)