Sunderland crashed to a heavy Under-18 Premier League Northern Division defeat at the hands of Teesside rivals Middlesbrough at the Academy of Light today.
Superior finishing was the essential difference between the two sides and it was Boro who provided it.
The first half was actually nip and tuck and quite even in terms of possession, but two goals before the break virtually killed the game off.
The opening goal came on 19 minutes when a lobbed shot – hooked into the top corner from 25 yards by Connor Mally – seemed to catch Sunderland keeper Michael Woud by surprise.
The Wearsiders came back with efforts from Jack Diamond and Lee Connelly, but the defence was split wide open by a fast passing move five minutes before the break.
Boro’s Jay Wilson supplied the finish, looking up and picking his spot just inside the far post.
Disaster struck for Sunderland early in the second half when a fierce centre by Wilson was sliced into his own net by Oscar Krusnell, crashing past startled keeper Woud.
The rampant visitors made it 4-0 when Steven Walker steered the ball into the top of the goal from eight yards following a well worked corner.
One minute later, Fergus McAughtrie slammed home a left-footed half-volley from 15 yards for a consolation Sunderland goal.
However, the Teessiders still had the last say when Tyrone O’Neil notched a fifth from close range following slick interpassing to round off a decisive win.
Boro’s captain Ben Liddle – who had a fine game in central defence – is the son of ex Sunderland coach Craig Liddle and is now coach for the Boro U18 side.
Post-match, Sunderland coach Elliott Dickman said: “I was disappointed with the performance and obviously the result.
“The first half was better for us, but they took their chances far better throughout.”
Sunderland U18s: Woud, Gamble (Kimpioka 45), Krusnell (Young 55), Allan (Hickey 65), Taylor, Storey, Best, Hackett, Diamond, Connelly, McAughtrie.
Middlesbrough U18s: Hemmings, Convory, Reading, Liddle (Spence 82), Guru, Renton, Holdsworth, Mally (Willson 72), O’Neil, Wilson, Walker.