SUNDERLAND Primary Schools Boys preserved their unbeaten Harrison Cup record, coming from two goals down to rescue a 2-2 draw against Chester-le-Street.
The defending champion Wearsiders had been held to a 1-1 draw, dropping their only points so far this season, in their previous meeting with Chester.
In the return, at the Academy of Light, Sunderland missed influential defender Lewis Connolly, who was on Sunderland Academy duty.
The hosts were on the back foot from the first whistle against a hungry Chester-le-Street side, who were first to very tackle and who won every first and second ball.
The visitors took the lead when a ball was hoisted to the far post. Lewis Lukeman missed his clearance and the ball fell invitingly for a Chester forward, who crashed a shot past helpless keeper Ben McDonald.
Things went from bad to worse for Sunderland a couple of minutes later when the unfortunate Noel Partridge lost his footing on the edge of the area to allow a Chester midfielder a free run on goal which he converted to give the visitors a 2-0 lead.
In response, Nathan Simpson raced free of the visitors’ defence and his shot struck the outside of the post before leading scorer Brandon Goldsmith had an effort diverted around the post by the keeper.
Strong words at half-time saw Sunderland come out in a determined fashion and they took the game to Chester-le-Street from the first whistle.
The hosts reduced the arrears when good work from Harry Gardiner found Goldsmith at the back post and he made no mistake with a smart finish.
Sunderland were now in the ascendency and Gardiner should have equalised but, on a slippery surface, he lost his footing when he was about to shoot and the chance went begging.
Great work by Simpson created the equaliser when he went on a surging run before finding Goldsmith, who again finished confidently at the back post.
At this point, it looked certain that Sunderland would go on to win, but, despite laying siege to the visiting goal, a winner eluded them, though the Wearsiders are top of the table with five wins and two draws in seven matches.
Only five matches remain in the league campaign.