Sunderland’s hard work came to nothing as they left the Lamex Stadium empty handed after a physical Tottenham Hotspur display.
Max Stryjek endured a moment he won’t want to see again inside five minutes as he lost possession on the edge of his own box and allowed Kazaiah Sterling to steal in and tap home.
To the stopper’s credit, though, he produced a number of assured stops to keep the Lads in the match as they searched for a route back into the game.
Rees Greenwood, the main source of Sunderland’s attacking play, fashioned a handful of openings before Joel Asoro hit the base of the post early in the second period.
That proved to be as close as the Black Cats came to an equaliser. Another frustrating evening for the Lads.
Galvanised from last Wednesday’s European cup victory over Athletic Club, Elliott Dickman made two changes to his starting XI as he looked for some capital gains over Tottenham Hotspur.
Denver Hume came in for Tommy Robson while Dan Wright featured alongside Ethan Robson in the centre of the park replacing Tom Beadling.
Sunderland’s polish stopper Stryjek experienced a start to forget, gifting Sterling an opening inside five minutes.
The goalkeeper was caught in possession on the edge of his own box, holding onto the ball for a second too long, and Sterling pounced before tapping the ball into an empty net.
Wave after wave of attacks crashed against the Black Cats’ backline as Dickman’s side struggled to find their groove, Josh Robson slamming clear Joe Pritchard’s mazy run into the box following a miss-communication between Wright and Strjyek.
It took the Lads 18 minutes to muster their first opening of the game, Greenwood came alive on the edge of the box and fired a low cross come shot which couldn’t so easily have been turned in by Luke Molyneux who darted across goal from the right flank.
Slowly but surely Sunderland settled, Stryjek kept hold of Pritchard’s venomous drive as he strode into the box before the Lads launched an attack of their own.
Greenwood nipped possession away from Joe Muscatt, dug a cross into the path of Wright who saw his strike deflect into the ground and then loop up towards the top corner.
Pau Lopez scampered across his goal-line and made a superb fingertip save to preserve Spurs’ lead which was looking all the more slender by the minute.
But just as Sunderland looked to be building a head of steam Spurs hit back, Pritchard smacked the woodwork with a 25 yard free-kick before Muscatt drove into aches of space down the right flank and bent a left-footed strike a whisker wide of the far post.
The Black Cats responded in the opening stages of the second period, though, Greenwood thwarted Spurs’ backline and then warmed the gloves of Lopez with a well-struck right-footed attempt.
Moments later Sunderland came again, this time Asoro twisted this way and that as he had Spurs’ backline on their toes.
The Swede hooked the ball onto his right foot as he bore down on goal to work a yard of space, but the 17-year-old could only struck the base of the post despite looking for all the world to have levelled the fixture.
The Lads’ hard work was almost undone in the hosts’ next attack, though. Sterling sneaked in behind Hume at the back stick and was inches away from latching onto an in-swinging cross from the left flank.
Sunderland continued to be frustrated in the closing stages before Sterling found the side netting following a similar cross from the left as earlier.
Another frustrating evening for the Lads.
Tottenham Hotspur: Lopez, Muscatt, Tsaroulla, Maghoma, Harrison, Stylianides (Skipp, 90), Tracey, Pritchard (Owens, 79), Sterling (Goddard, 88)
Sunderland: Stryjek, J Robson, Hume, Casey, Ledger, Wright, Molyneux, E Robson, Asoro, Embleton, Greenwood
Subs: Brotheron, Talbot, Taylor, Gamble, Poame