Barclays U21 Premier League 2016: Sunday Scores, Latest Table and Schedule

James DudkoFeatured ColumnistJanuary 31, 2016

READING, ENGLAND - MARCH 12: Harry Wilson of Liverpool holds off pressure from Tarique Fosu of Reading during the FA Youth Cup 6th Round match between Reading U18 and Liverpool U18 at Madejski Stadium on March 12, 2014 in Reading, England.  (Photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images)
Ben Hoskins/Getty Images

Liverpool climbed out from one place off the bottom of Divsion One in the U21 Premier League, beating Reading on Sunday, a day when top-of-the table Sunderland were held at home by Chelsea.

The young Reds produced an impressive 2-0 win at home, despite the fact many academy players featured for the senior side in the FA Cup less than 24 hours earlier.

Liverpool took the lead courtesy of Brooks Lennon in the first half, before Harry Wilson netted from the penalty spot after the break to wrap up the points.

Chelsea's youngsters struggled to a goalless draw at Sunderland's Eppleton Colliery Welfare Ground, a result that means the hosts failed to open a six-point gap at the top of Division One in the U21 Premier League.

It's bad news for Sunderland, who still lead Manchester United, but the Red Devils have games in hand. As for the young Blues, they remain mired in mid-table, despite some obvious talent.

Here are the final scores from Sunday's U21 fixtures:

U21 Premier League: Sunday Results
HomeScoreAway
Sunderland0-0Chelsea
Liverpool2-0Reading
PremierLeague.com

Here's what the table looks like after those results:

U21 Division 1 Standings
PositionClubPlayedWonDrawnLostGoal DifferencePoints
1Sunderland149231629
2Manchester United108111625
3Tottenham Hotspur15546-119
4Manchester City11533518
5Reading13535-118
6Everton12453117
7Chelsea11434-115
8Liverpool13436-415
9Southampton12426-714
10Middlesbrough11344313
11Norwich City13337-612
12Leicester City12237-199
PremierLeague.com

For a complete look at the standings, including the Division Two table, click here.

Here's the upcoming schedule:

Next Division 1 Fixtures
DateTime (GMT / ET)Homevs.Away
Monday, Feb. 17 p.m. / 2 p.m.Brighton & Hove Albionvs.Wolverhampton Wanderers
Monday, Feb. 17 p.m. / 2 p.m.Derby Countyvs.West Ham United
Monday, Feb. 17 p.m. / 2p.m.Evertonvs.Manchester United
PremierLeague.com

 

Recap

Tricky winger Ryan Kent was included in Liverpool's refreshed squad, while Tiago Ilori featured in defence at the Lookers Vauxhall Stadium. With a strong spine still in place, the visitors bossed the early proceedings, passing the ball well in front of boss Michael Beale.

But for all their composed possession, Liverpool's fledglings still needed Ilori to be heroic at the back. He had to deny United States striker Andrija Novakovich more than once, including a splendid last-ditch tackle inside the final 20 minutes.

Ilori proved vital at the heart of defence.
Ilori proved vital at the heart of defence.PAUL ELLIS/Getty Images

For the most part, though, the visitors stayed in control—particularly thanks to the composure of teenage midfield schemer Wilson. The 18-year-old Welsh playmaker was recalled from a disappointing loan spell with League 1 club Crewe Alexandra back in early December, per Andy Kelly of the Liverpool Echo.

But Wilson was sharp here, passing the ball with confidence and producing some skilled touches.

This win is a big boost to Liverpool's ailing season, but it represents huge disappointment for Reading. The junior Royals missed the chance to go third.

A goal-line clearance from Sunderland midfield man Liam Agnew denied Chelsea in the opening half. Jake Clarke-Salter had risen well to meet a corner, but Agnew's heroics left him frustrated. 

The Blues' main threat came from 20-year-old playmaker Jordan Houghton. He manufactured several shooting chances, particularly during the early stages of the second half.

Sunderland included experienced forward Ola Toivonen in their ranks, and the 29-year-old showed some nice touches and decent movement, before being substituted for Andrew Nelson with less than 20 minutes remaining.

Toivonen was back in action for the Black Cats.
Toivonen was back in action for the Black Cats.Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Most of the second-half action focused on a personal duel between Sunderland striker Mikael Mandron and Chelsea goalkeeper Bradley Collins. The latter was quick off his line several times to thwart the Mackems' young Frenchman.

Chelsea's official site felt the home side were being overly physical in midfield:

Collins continued to stand strong, while Black Cats stopper Max Stryjek also produced a couple of solid saves late on to keep the scores blank.

Chelsea will welcome taking a point from a tough venue. But Sunderland will rue the missed chance to create some real daylight between themselves and the chasing pack.