Sunderland U18 1-2 Derby County U18
Two goals in the last nine minutes saw Sunderland under-18s surrender their lead as Derby County snatched all three points at the Academy on Saturday.
After going in front, the young Black Cats came under severe pressure in the second period but defended valiantly until they cracked in the final phase of the game.
Sunderland started well and Jake Hackett's brilliant ball inside the full-back nearly played Fergus McAughtrie in but Derby just managed to clear.
Brandon Taylor then made a superb last ditch tackle minutes later to thwart Derby's Jaydon Mitchell-Lawson as he was about to pull the trigger.
But the Wearsiders hit back to take the lead on 28 minutes - Sonny Best cleverly switched the ball wide to Jack Diamond, who then drove at the Rams’ backline before flashing a ball across the face of goal for Best to finish from eight yards.
Chris Allan was having a good game in midfield and the half ended with the hosts still in the lead after more than holding their own in the opening 45 minutes.
However, it was a very different story in the second period.
Derby dominated play with the bitterly cold wind now at their backs.
Keeper Michael Woud made several fine saves but the Rams were in the ascendancy.
Hackett relieved the none stop pressure with a long run to finish in a good position but sliced horribly wide of the goal.
Nine minutes from time the Derby pressure finally paid off when Mitchell-Lawson drove low into the bottom corner past Woud's despairing dive.
Two minutes from time, Woud made another great save from Cameron Cresswell, but in the 90th minute Derby grabbed the winner when striker Jahvan Davison-Miller smashed the ball home from a right wing cross from 10 yards.
It was a hammer blow to Sunderland after all their whole hearted efforts to gain possibly at least a point.
Speaking post-match, Elliott Dickman delivered his honest assessment: "That was poor. It was a very disappointing second half display admittedly in tough conditions."
Sunderland: Woud, Taylor, Krusnell, Allan, Storey, Young (Hickey 46), Best, Hackett, Fowler (Connelly 46), Diamond, McAughtrie (Kimpioka 87).
Subs not used: Patterson, Howard.
Derby: Yates, Goode, Mills, Haywood, Bateman, Thomas, Jibodu (Edwards 54), Bird, Davison-Miller, Mitchell-Lawson, Cresswell.