Sunderland consolidated their position at the top of the Under-21 Premier League after an impressive 3-1 win at Chelsea.
Despite being forced to name a youthful starting XI due to the absence of several key players, Andy Welsh’s side came away with all three points at Chelsea’s Cobham training ground, to bounce back from last week’s cup defeat to Liverpool.
The victory, which maintained Sunderland’s five point lead at the top of the table, began when Ethan Robson fired home from a 17th minute corner with the Black Cats’ first effort of the game.
Rees Greenwood then spurned the opportunity to double the advantage by firing wide with the goal at his mercy, before Chelsea levelled from the penalty spot within six minutes of falling behind.
Centre-half Michael Ledger was penalised for handball and Tammy Abraham sent Max Stryjek the wrong way with his spot-kick.
Andrew Nelson came close to regaining the advantage on the stroke of half-time, but saw his effort well-saved by Jamal Blackman.
But Sunderland went ahead again in the 69th minute when Andrew Wright latched onto a ball over the top and slotted the ball beyond Blackman.
Chelsea had the opportunity to again immediately equalise with a penalty, but this time Stryjek produced a superb stop to deny Abraham his second.
Midfielder Martin Smith - allowed to play despite being on loan at Gateshead - then sealed the points in the last 10 minutes when he converted Carl Lawson’s assist on the counter-attack.
Chelsea: Blackman, Aina, Tomori, Conroy (Suljic 60), J Dasilva, Colkett, Musonda, Kiwomya (Muheim 60), Palmer, Mitchell, Abraham. Subs not used: Dabo, Collins, Ali.
Sunderland: Stryjek, J Robson, Brady, Ledger, T Robson, Wright, E Robson (McEvoy 84), Smith, Greenwood (Lawson 81), Agnew, Nelson. Subs not used: Purvis, Blinco, McEvoy, Lawson, Casey