Sunderland gave an encouraging display in their final game of the season against Southampton but were once again thwarted of a win by conceding a late goal.
Both sides had chances in an open first half, creating good opportunities, but it was the Wearsiders who crucially made one count on 38 minutes to take the lead.
It came from a superb set piece from Owen Gamble, who bent a 25-yarder into the top corner of the net.
Sunderland came under severe pressure in the second half and had to thank Anthony Patterson in goal for keeping them in the game.
But they could have increased the lead when Jack Diamond broke at speed only to see his strike flash across the face of the goal.
However, the late goal hoodoo struck again five minutes from time when Southampton’s Harlem Hale burst in from the right to fire an equaliser.
Nevertheless, although disappointing, it had been a good show by the young Black Cats against a club with a record of one of the most productive youth systems in the Premier League.
Coach Mark Atkinson summed up by saying: “We have recovered from a disappointing early season to play much better for the last seven games when they have really showed their capabilities. They did very well today.”
Although the first team have been relegated to the Championship, the Under-18s will continue to play in the Under-18 Premier League next season, because of their Category 1 Academy set-up.
Sunderland U18s: Patterson, Trialist, Krusnell (McAughtrie 46), Taylor (Storey 46), Young, Allan (Connolly 55), Hackett, Kimpioka, Gamble, Connelly, Diamond.