Exactly what happened as late drama sees Sunderland under-23s beat Crystal Palace thanks to Will Harris' brace
Will Harris’ late double saw Sunderland under-23s snatch a dramatic victory at Crystal Palace.
The striker scored twice in the final minutes of the game to hand the Black Cats victory after Jake O’Brien’s opener.
Sunderland were without a number of key players with the likes of Oliver Younger, Josh Hawkes and Benji Kimpioka all absent ahead of a behind closed doors friendly with the first-team on Tuesday.
Elliott Dickman was, however, able to call upon the services of two trialists as Nathan Newall and Danny Greenfield both featured for the second successive game.
Palace, meanwhile, handed starts to first team duo Martin Kelly and Conor Wickham – and the former was heavily involved early on.
It was his pass that created the game’s first real opening as he threaded in Jack Wells-Morrison, whose shot was parried before Archie Matthews skewed wide from the follow-up.
Wickham then headed wide from close range after a dangerous Harlem Hale cross as he continued to pose problems.
Sunderland’s best chances fell to Stephen Wearne and Will Harris who both fired over after latching onto loose balls, but they spent large spells of the first half defending.
Palace’s Hale fired wide after good work from stopper Anthony Patterson to narrow the angle after the winger broke through, before Matthews then curled the wrong side of the post from the edge of the box.
The hosts continued to push forward after the break with Wickham again failing to hit the target with a close range header – before Ellis Taylor then almost handed Sunderland an unlikely lead with a solo run before firing narrowly wide.
But as the half wore on, the Black Cats began to assert themselves on the game.
A fine ball from Newall picked out fellow trialist Greenfield whose fine touch allowed him to shoot, but his effort failed to trouble home stopper Oliver Webber.
The former Manchester United academy midfielder then saw a low drive repelled by Webber with Stephen Wearne unable to turn home the rebound.
Just as the Wearsiders were begin to enjoy a spell in the game, though, they fell behind – with O’Brien heading home after he was left unmarked from a corner.
It could have been two moments later when Brandon Taylor was adjudged to have fouled substitute Victor Akinwale in the box.
But Patterson sprung to his left to tip away Matthews’ spot kick, handing the Black Cats a chance to salvage a point from the game.
And the significance of that save was felt in the final moment of normal time when Harris managed to prod a shot into the bottom corner from the edge of the area – sparking celebrations among the travelling contingent.
The celebrations would be even wilder moments later as Harris again pounced, rifling home from close range to seal the win with just seconds left on the clock.
The triumph lifts Sunderland away from the foot of Premier League 2 as they prepare to face Burnley on Monday, March 29.
Sunderland XI: Patterson, Wombwell, B Taylor, Almond, Wilding, Newall, Hackett, Greenfield, E Taylor, Harris, Wearne
Subs not used: Beaumont, Bond, Kelly, Chapman