Sunderland Under-23s succumbed to a 1-0 defeat in tonight’s Premier League Cup last-16 tie at Eppleton CW – despite a sensational final few minutes.
Eoin McKeown hit the Essex side’s early winner before Sunderland’s Josh Maja had a penalty saved and had an effort ruled out for offside deep in stoppage time.
Sam Brotherton made an excellent tackle to deny the lively McKeown early on after he had rounded keeper James Talbot, but the visiting striker made the breakthrough on nine minutes, firing home in a scramble following a corner.
In response, Elliot Embleton hit the bar with a corner before Luke Molyneux had strikes comfortably saved by visiting goalie Dean Brill, while Maja sent an overhead kick well wide.
Joel Asoro went close with a header from Rees Greenwood’s cross, then Maja and Ethan Robson had shots blocked as Colchester defended strongly.
Denver Hume created an opening with some brilliant play, only to fire straight at Brill.
In added time, Sunderland pressed hard, with Maja hitting the post before the Black Cats were awarded a penalty, only for Brill to deny Maja.
Then, five minutes into stoppage time, Maja headed home, only for an offside flag to break Sunderland’s hearts and clinch a fine victory for Colchester.
Sunderland: Talbot, J Robson, Hume, Embleton, Brady, Brotherton, E Robson, Molyneux, Asoro, Maja, Greenwood. Subs not used: Stryjek, Casey, Poame, Wright, Lawson
Colchester: Brill, Kensdale, Ocran, Harrison, Peter, Wright, Brown, Howard (Clampin 90), McKeown (Keys 70), Issa, Dunne (Jones 78). Sub not used: Phillips