Sunderland U23 2-3 Newcastle U23
Sunderland under-23s were made to swallow a bitter pill as Newcastle United came from behind and struck an injury-time winner at the Academy of Light.
Lee Connelly and Jack Diamond had given the Lads a commanding advantage inside the opening 34 minutes, but goals from Oliver Walters, Elias Sorensen and Rosaire Longelo saw the Magpies swoop in and collect three points.
Benji Kimpioka led the line for Elliott Dickman’s side, with 16-year-old Dan Neil once again called upon in the middle of the park. Ryan Gooch, 15, was named among the subs alongside second-year scholar Ryan Leonard.
The Black Cats experienced a day to forget when they travelled through to Tyneside earlier this season, but today’s match provided a much better competitive edge at the Academy of Light as the Lads gained control early on.
Connelly broke the deadlock with 11 minutes played, using his pace to sneak in behind and latch onto a ball over the top. The Scot composed himself and showed guts to slide the ball beyond the on-rushing Newcastle stopper knowing full well he would be clattered in the process.
But the result was perfect as Sunderland deservedly hit the front, with Connelly and Kimpioka doing well to fashion further half openings for the Lads.
Eventually, though, the second goal came. However, in rather extreme circumstances. Diamond was the man sparkling most in the pack when his audacious lob from just inside the Newcastle half found the back of the net with 34 minutes played.
Newcastle fought back and managed to ignite a momentum shift before the break as Walters flicked home a low ball in from the right.
Sorensen then equalised on the hour mark when he turned home Thomas Allan’s assist after a lightning start to the second period.
Both sides continued trade blows as Sunderland grew into the half, Diamond flashed a free-kick wide after a mazy run drew in a couple of fouls. Diamond was then involved once again a little later, but this time his effort from distance was charge down.
But in the dying seconds, Newcastle clinched all three points when Longelo slammed the ball home to defeat the Black Cats on home soil.
Sunderland U23: Patterson, Hunter, Taylor, Bainbridge (Store), Young, Bale, Hackett, Connelly, Neil. Diamond, Kimpioka
Subs not used: Johnstone, Gooch, Leonard, Connolly
Newcastle United U23: Huuhtanen, Gibson, Watts, Bailey, Walters, Sangare, Longstaff, Wilson, Roberts, Allan, Sorensen
Subs not used: McEntee, Langley, Longelo-Mbule, Nunez-Cumbreras, Toure