Everton U18s 4 Sunderland U18s 4: Gallant Black Cats pegged back in eight-goal epic

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Sunderland finally secured their first point of the Under-18 Premier League season on Saturday.

But they were still left disappointed as hosts Everton hit back from 4-1 down to rescue a 4-4 draw at their Finch Farm academy.

The visitors started the brighter, going close to taking the lead early on, but were only kept at bay until the 12th minute when Lee Connolly coolly chipped Everton goalkeeper Chris Renshaw to open the scoring.

Nine minutes later, the young Black Cats doubled their lead when Brandon Taylor connected with a Chris Allen corner from the right to punish the hosts.

Adam Bale made a brilliant block to deny Everton’s Stephen Duke-McKenna, who looked certain to score.

Two minutes before the break, Fergus McAughtrie was brought down in the box and Connolly duly dispatched the resulting penalty, making it 3-0.

Everton grabbed a quick goal in reply the following minute, being awarded a “rather dubious” penalty after Bale was adjudged to have pushed Jack Kiersey and Shayne Lavery netted from the spot.

Connolly re-established the Wearsiders’ three-goal lead in the 65th minute, latching on to a cross from the right to fire home for his hat-trick.

The hosts soon responded, though, and pulled back to 4-2 in the 68th minute, Lavery finishing off a Fraser Hornby cross.

Now on a roll, the Toffees closed the gap to one goal two minutes later, Hornby nodding in a Kiersey centre.

The Merseysiders then managed to equalise in the 78th minute as substitute Benjamin Mgunga-Kimpioka tormented his marker in the box and fired a fierce shot in off the underside of Michael Woud’s bar.

Coach Elliott Dickman said: “I was over the moon to score four goals away from home, but disappointed to concede four also. I thought we did enough to win the game.”

Everton: Renshaw, Morris, Moore, Harrington, Lees, Hornby, Bramall, Kiersey, Lavery, Duke-McKenna, Mampala.

Sunderland: Woud, Hickey, Taylor, Young, McAughtrie, Diamond (Krusnell 75), Allen, Bale, Hackett, Kimpioka, Connelly. Subs not used: Pattinson, Fowler, Howard, Best.