Sub Luke Molyneux proved the difference as Sunderland Under-23s ended an eight-game winless streak in the league with a deserved 2-1 win over Arsenal at Hetton.
His 88th minute goal secured Sunderland's first league win since December 9 as Elliott Dickman's youngsters ran out winners in their final league home game of the season.
Arsenal had taken the lead in the 56th minute through Donyell Malen before Lynden Gooch equalised for the Black Cats. Molyneux secured the win in the dying stages.
It was Sunderland's final home game of the Premier League 2 Division One campaign, with Reading away in a couple of weeks to complete the league campaign.
Joel Asoro led the Sunderland attack, with support from Lynden Gooch in an attacking midfield role and George Honeyman and Rees Greenwood on the flanks.
It was a bright start from both sides, with Arsenal the first to threaten. The lively Joseph Willock saw his low effort deflected wide of the left-hand post for a corner.
Arsenal right-back Chiori Johnson was causing problems for Sunderland down the left, with his dangerous balls over the top and incisive runs.
Sunderland's first sight on goal came in the 10th minute, Donald Love with a superb ball into Honeyman's feet in the channel.
He played in Asoro but his attempt was blocked before Ethan Robson saw his effort blocked from the follow-up.
Six minutes late an unmarked Greenwood failed to connect cleanly with a floated Love ball to the back post - his skewed effort going over the crossbar.
Love was enjoying a good game at right back, producing several strong challenges to keep the Arsenal forward at bay while producing a string of impressive balls to the Sunderland
With Robbie Stockdale watching on from the stands, Greenwood and Elliot Embleton both saw efforts blocked by the Arsenal defence.
Sunderland were applying pressure but defender George Brady's looping header to the back post was comfortably gathered by Hugo Keto in the Arsenal goal.
Elliot Dickman's side had goalkeeper Max Stryjek to thank in the 35th minute, spreading himself well to deny Maitland-Niles after Thomas Beadling had given the ball away.
There was nothing to separate the sides at the break, with Gooch seeing his effort comfortable saved by Keto after cutting in from the left wing and curling a right-footed shot at goal.
Half time: Sunderland 0 Arsenal 0
Sunderland made a half-time change, with Joshua Robson replacing Love at right-back at Eppleton Colliery Welfare.
There was a stoppage early on in the second half, with Ethan Robson in need of medical assistance after disclocating his finger.
He was clearly in some pain but was able to carry on after having it popped back in and his fingers strapped together.
Arsenal's Josh Da Silva went close from a free-kick, his 20-yard effort dipping inches over Stryjek's crossbar before Arsenal did take the lead 56 minutes in.
Maitland-Niles split the Sunderland defence, rolling the ball into the path of Donyell Malen who produced a clinical finish into the bottom left-hand corner of the net 56 minutes in.
Sunderland kept plugging away and equalised in the 68th minute through Lynden Gooch, his effort squirming under Keto after being played in by Greenwood.
Sunderland were the better team after equalising, with Dickman's side enjoying the lions share of possession but clear chances were few and far between.
Goalscorer Gooch found himself in two good positions during the second half but lost his footing the first time and then miscontrolled the ball inside the box the second.
The American winger put in a solid shift though before being substituted, with Luke Molyneux coming on in the 82nd minute.
And it wasn't long before he'd given Sunderland the lead, racing onto an Ethan Robson throughball before a clinical finish past Keto in the 88th minute from the edge of the area.
Sunderland again had Stryjek to thank late on, the stopper diving acrobatically to push sub Vlad Dragomir's goalbound header over the crossbar as they ended their winless streak.
Full time: Sunderland 2 Arsenal 1
Sunderland (4-2-3-1): Stryjek, Love (J.Robson, 45), Brady, Beadling, Hume, Embleton, Robson (C), Gooch (Molyneux, 82), Greenwood, Honeyman, Asoro (Maja, 64)
Subs Not Used: Talbot, Robson, Brotherton.
Booked: Love (45)
Goals: Gooch (68), Molyneux (88)
Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Keto, Johnson, Bramall, Maitland-Niles, Oluwu, Sheaf (C), Da Silva, McGuane, Malen (Fortune, 82), J. Willock (Dragomir, 82) , C. Willock.
Subs Not Used: Virginia, Medley.
Booked: McGuane (77)
Goals: Malen (56)
Referee: Mr A Miller