YORK City were unable to make it a Tyne & Wear double on Wednesday evening but were nonetheless very encouraging in a 1-1 draw with Sunderland at the LNER Community Stadium.

Sunderland had played two friendlies (at Spennymoor Town and Heart of Midlothian) going into Tuesday, and it showed. They looked more like a team in full flow than Newcastle United, whom City beat 1-0 four days previously.

But, aided by a few outstanding saves from Ryan Whitley and Pete Jameson, National League North side York contained their League One visitors as well as could have been expected, and came away with another good pre-season result and - more importantly - warm-up.

Here are five things we learnt.

1. York will not be tested like that in the league

Sunderland fell just short in the 2020/21 play-offs, denied a shot at returning to the Championship by Lincoln City in the semi-finals, and came to Monks Cross with the vigour of a Football League team on a roll.

Following their plummet from the Premier League, manager Lee Johnson has rejuvenated the Black Cats, whose relentless attack - featuring sprightly veteran Aiden McGeady - culminated in the opening goal after half an hour.

The Mackems were an even tougher test than Premier League outfit Newcastle, whose Premier League star-studded outfit on Sunday were just getting warmed up to pre-season.

City will come up against little like that intensity and class next season in National League North.

2. York’s pre-season confidence should be high

Three games and no defeats is an excellent return to say that two of those pre-season fixtures have come against North East titans Newcastle and Sunderland.

More pertinently, the performances have been good in testing conditions, which York seem to have ridden out thus far with no ill effects. The fitness accrued now can only be a positive, as can the knowledge that they competed for 90 minutes against quality opposition in midweek.

3. Four at the back could play a larger part this season

Each of the three pre-season fixtures so far has seen at least 45 minutes of a back line comprising two full-backs and two centre-backs.

Manager Steve Watson may have intended to keep it that way for the full 90 against Sunderland, or he may have wanted to change to the 3-5-2 formation we have become accustomed to seeing.

Either way, his hand was forced when centre-back Josh King left the field with a gash in his leg. Jack Degruchy and Paddy McLaughlin then assumed the wing-back roles.

4. It’s great to have Kurt Willoughby back

Watson has been an admirer of the former Fylde striker for a while, and it is easy to see why.

Coming on in the second half, Willoughby gave the York attack another dimension and took his opportunity with aplomb.

Just 24 years old, the lively Willoughby has been warmly received by fans, and he seems to like being back in the Minster city.

5. Either of the trialists would be a valuable addition

Whitby, Newcastle and Sunderland have all seen the same two young trialists - one in defensive midfield and one in attacking midfield. Both have impressed with bright and intelligent play, and would add depth in key areas.

Given their ages, they also show potential to grow under Watson's tutelage in a highly competitive division.