Spoils shared in north west.
Everton U21 2 Sunderland U21 2
Sunderland’s development squad came from two goals behind to earn a point and extend their Barclays U21 Premier League unbeaten run to four games at Everton.
Adam Mitchell scored twice for the visitors after Harry Charsley had given the hosts a two-goal advantage.
Coach Kevin Ball saw the young Black Cats close the gap on league leaders Fulham to three points.
Charsley opened the scoring on five minutes after he turned on the edge of the area and chipped delicately over Joel Dixon.
It was the Everton scorer who continued to be involved throughout the early stages as he fired Hallam Hope’s cross wide at the back post when well placed.
The young Black Cats found the awkward pitch at Southport difficult to contend with and, as a result, failed to move the ball in the efficient manner that they have been affiliated with throughout the early stages.
Gethin Jones had a great chance to double the advantage for the Toffees as he smashed over from six yards after Vellios played the ball into his path.
Joe Williams was the next Everton player to try and force a second as he won possession 20 yards from goal before smashing a left-footed effort over.
The hosts did double their advantage five minutes before the break as Hope broke down the left and cut back for Charsley to smash into the roof of the net from six yards.
However, Sunderland resiliently bounced back and, after George Honeyman’s shot was deflected away from goal, Mitchell ran in at the back post to squeeze the ball inside Mason Springthorpe’s near post.
Hope twice went close for the Toffees in the early stages of the second half but he fired wide on both occasions.
Springthorpe in the Everton goal had to be on hand to tip Mitchell’s fizzing cross round the post before denying Scott Harrison’s well-struck free-kick from 22 yards.
However, County Durham-born midfielder Mitchell equalised just after the hour mark as substitute Martin Smith sent an exquisite chipped pass to the back post for him to run on to and volley over Springthorpe into the far corner.
It was all Sunderland in the closing stages as Connor Oliver controversially saw a goal ruled out after the referee pulled play back, after an initially allowing play-on, from a throw-in.
Jordan Laidler fired narrowly wide from 20 yards as the young Black Cats’ onslaught on the Toffees’ goal continued.
Lynden Gooch felt he should have been awarded a late penalty as the American looked to be pulled by Gethin Jones in the area.
And Mitchell nearly won it in injury time as he bore down on the Everton goal and crashed a fine strike against Springthorpe’s post.
Sunderland: Dixon, Cartwright, Ferguson (C), Oliver, Harrison, McNamee, Mitchell, Laing (Smith, 52), Laidler, Honeyman, Holland (Gooch, 84).
Subs not used: Egan, Stryjek, Lawson.