Two goals in the last nine minutes saw bottom-of-the-table Sunderland miss out on a first win of the Under-18 Premier League Northern Division season yesterday.
After going in front, the young Black Cats came under severe pressure in the second period, but they defended valiantly until they cracked in the final phase of the game.
Sunderland started well and Jake Hackett’s brilliant ball inside the full-back nearly played Fergus McAughtrie in, but Derby just managed to clear.
Brendon Taylor then made a superb last-ditch tackle minutes later to thwart Derby’s Jaydon Mitchell-Lawson as he was about to pull the trigger.
But the Wearsiders hit back to take the lead on 28 minutes. Sonny Best started and finished the move, cleverly switching the ball wide to Jack Diamond to continue his run and sidefoot in from the winger’s low cross from eight yards.
Chris Allan was having a good game in midfield and the half ended with the hosts still in the lead after more than holding their own in the opening 45 minutes.
However, it was a different story in the second period.
Derby dominated the play, with the bitterly cold wind now at their backs.
Keeper Michael Woud made several fine saves to keep Sunderland in front, but the Rams were in the ascendancy.
Hackett relieved the non-stop pressure with a long run to finish in a good position, but he sliced horribly wide of the goal.
Nine minutes from time, Derby’s pressure finally paid off when Mitchell-Lawson drove low into the bottom corner past Woud’s despairing dive.
Woud made another great save from Derby’s Cameron Cresswell two minutes from time, but, in the 90th minute, Derby grabbed the winner when striker Jahvan Davison-Miller smashed the ball home from a right wing cross from 10 yards.
It was a hammer blow for Sunderland after their whole-hearted efforts to gain possibly at least a point.
However, coach Elliott Dickman’s realistic opinion was: “That was poor. It was a very disappointing second half display admittedly in tough conditions.”
Sunderland are six points adrift at the bottom of the table, with two points from 11 games.
Sunderland U18s: Woud, Taylor, Krusnell, Allan, Storey, Young (Hickey 46), Best, Hackett, Fowler (Connelly 46), Diamond, McAughtrie (Kimpioka 87). Subs not used: Patterson, Howard.
Derby U18s: Yates, Goode, Mills, Haywood, Bateman, Thomas, Jibodu (Edwards 54), Bird, Davison-Miller, Mitchell-Lawson, Cresswell.