Sunderland under-18s threw away the chance of back-to-back wins for the first time this season when they conceded two goals in the finals five minutes against West Bromwich Albion on Friday.
It was an even game played in perfect conditions and the Black Cats had played well and, unlike West Brom, had taken their chances before the fatal late collapse.
Jack Diamond skied an early shot after Lee Connelly unselfishly squared the ball to him before the Scotsman was then denied by strong hands from Albion’s stopper.
The visitors hit back though and shortly after Sameron Dool left the crossbar rattling as he lashed a 25-yard shot against the bar with Black Cats ‘keeper Michael Woud beaten.
But that proved to be a rare Albion chance as the hosts resumed a tight control on the game, Sonny Best and Connelly both went close with further openings before the Lads finally broke the deadlock.
Benji Kimpioka made a powerful diagonal run from right to left before flicking the ball between two defenders, Connelly was onto it in a flash and rounded the keeper before hammering it home into the empty net minutes before the break.
Sunderland picked up where they left off at the start of the second period, Diamond went on mazy run only to be thwarted by a last ditch tackle.
The visitors hit back though and Woud had to be at his very best to produce a super reaction to deny Nabi’s point-blank range header.
And Woud’s inspired stop seemed to galvanise the Lads as they doubled their advantage with 65 minutes on the clock, Jake Hackett’s quick thinking from a set piece saw him thread a pass into Kimpioka’s path and he composed himself before delivering a fine finish into the far corner.
But with only five minutes remaining, the Baggies came back into it with Nabi converting a penalty awarded for a high tackle bringing down an attacker in the area.
Worse was to follow with one minute left.
From a corner taken on the right, Woud made another fine stop but the ball rebounded into the path of Jordan Piggott and he gleefully banged in the loose ball.
Speaking post-match Elliott Dickman said: "It was so disappointing - an utter disaster in the last five minutes. We had done enough to win but have got to learn to see a game out."
Sunderland: Woud, Gamble (Howard 79), Krusnell, Allan, Storey, Young, Best, Hackett, Diamond (Fowler 63), Connelly, Kimpioka (Leonard 83).