Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Benji's Early Strike Sets Cats on Way; MATCH ANALYSIS: Sunderland 3 Carlisle United 1

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Benji's Early Strike Sets Cats on Way; MATCH ANALYSIS: Sunderland 3 Carlisle United 1

Article excerpt

Byline: JAMES HUNTER Sunderland writer james.hunter@reachplc.com @JHUNTERCHRON

BENJI Kimpioka scored on his first senior start to help edge Sunderland to the brink of qualification for the knockout stage of the Checkatrade Trophy.

Kimpioka netted inside three minutes against Carlisle United, and although Ashley Nardesan restored parity midway through the first half, Ethan Robson put the Black Cats back in front before the break.

And George Honeyman wrapped things up just after the hour for Jack Ross' men.

The victory leaves Sunderland top of their group and with one foot in the next round, with only a very specific set of results - a draw between Carlisle and Stoke City U21s with Carlisle winning the penalty shoot-out to leave three teams on five points, and the Black Cats losing at Morecambe by a margin sufficient to overturn their goal difference advantage - in the final round of games can prevent them progressing.

Ross made six changes to the side that started the weekend win at Bradford, one of which was the inclusion of Kimpioka who replaced Josh Maja up front, with the latter rested as he has been carrying a slight ankle injury.

Robbin Ruiter and Alim Ozturk replaced Jon McLaughlin and Tom Flanagan, both of whom are away on international duty.

Lee Cattermole was rested with Ethan Robson taking his place, while Dylan McGeouch replaced the suspended Max Power, and George Honeyman came in for Jerome Sinclair who has a minor hamstring niggle.

Carlisle boss John Sheridan made five changes to the side that won at Oldham at the weekend.

In came Gary Miller, George Glendon, Regan Slater, Adam Campbell, and Liam McCarron, in place of Anthony Gerrard, Mike Jones, Jack Sowerby, Hallam Hope, and Kelvin Etuhu. The game exploded into life almost from the first whistle, with McCarron forcing Ruiter to block his shot from a tight angle behind for a corner inside two minutes.

And 60 seconds later Kimpioka struck, with his downward header from Aiden McGeady's left-wing cross proving too powerful for keeper Liam Collin to do anything more than help into the bottom corner of the net. …

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