Four goals in the closing quarter of the match sent Sunderland spinning to a 6-2 Under-18 Premier League defeat at Manchester City on Saturday, writes Neville Pilkington.
Sunderland were well in this game at 2-2 after 65 minutes but then tired, having given their all, and City capitalised to run out winners by a flattering margin.
Sunderland took the lead on 19 minutes when striker Lee Connelly scored after neatly controlling a cross from Fergus McAughtrie.
City came back and levelled through Nabil Touazi before taking the lead, after the break, with a goal from Felix Nmecha.
The battling Wearsiders fought back to equalise when Connelly got his second. Ben Kimpioka, a constant threat throughout, played in the Scot who was once again clinical in his finishing.
However, City were ahead again when Touazi scored again with a free header on 65 minutes.
A 12-minute hat-trick by Rabbi Matoudo – a Welsh Youth international who City signed from Cardiff – finished Sunderland off as they tired after giving City a good game for most of the match.
Sunderland coach Mark Atkinson said: “We were always in contention up to 65 minutes. The score was not a true reflection of this game and we took a lot of positives from the match.”
Sunderland U18s: Patterson, Howard, Devine, Kokola (Dunn 75), Young, Evans, McAughtrie, Best (Barli 67), Kimpioka, Hackett, Connelly. Subs not used: Newman, Mumba, Edmundsson, Leonard.