Lee Connelly scored a hat-trick as Sunderland under-18s earned a well-deserved point at Everton in the U18 Premier League on Saturday.
The visitors began the game brightly and went in front on 12th minutes when Connelly showed great composure to coolly chip the keeper.
Nine minutes later, the young Black Cats doubled their lead when Brandon Taylor connected with a Chris Allan corner from the right to punish the hosts further.
The young Black Cats continued to pile forward and moments before half time, Fergus McAughtrie was brought down in the box and Connelly made no mistake from 12 yards as he dispatched the resulting penalty.
However, Everton struck back immediately with a penalty of their own to go in at the midway interval with a glimmer of hope and leave the game hanging in the balance.
Grit and determination from Sunderland saw them re-established their three-goal lead in the 65th minute, as Connelly bagged his hat-trick after he latched on to a cross from the right.
But while the young guns continued to work tirelessly, the hosts hit back with two goals to set up a tense finale at Finch Farm before levelling in the 78th minute.
While both sides rallied late in an attempt to snatch all three points, the point brings an end to a run of six straight defeats for the young Black Cats.
Speaking post-match coach Elliott Dickman said: "I was over the moon to score four goals away from home, but disappointed to concede four also. I thought we did enough to win the game."
Sunderland: Woud, Hickey, Taylor, Young, McAughtrie, Diamond (Krusnell 75), Allen, Bale, Hackett, Kimpioka, Connelly.
Subs not used: Pattinson, Fowler, Howard, Best.