Sunderland made it back to back Under-18 Premier League wins thanks to Jack Diamond’s last-minute winner in Saturday’s 3-2 defeat of Stoke City, writes Neville Pilkington.
A hugely entertaining game could have gone either way, but the Wearsiders dug deep to finally claim the points.
Stoke had a dangerous striker in Jordon Greenidge and only a good block by Jake Evans kept out his goalbound shot.
The Potters went ahead on 34 minutes when Greenidge muscled his way past debutant French defender Rayed Dervali to cut in and sidefoot past Sunderland keeper Anthony Patterson into the far corner.
Sunderland levelled early in the second half when Evans’ pass found Robbie Dunne and the big striker turned to fire past Stoke keeper Mate Deczki.
Stoke regained the lead when Greenidge burst down the middle to drill past Paterson.
However, the home side’s never-say-die attitude was rewarded by an 80th-minute equaliser.
Dunne was brought down from behind in the area and Lee Connelly sent the keeper the wrong way, firing high into the top corner.
Greenidge hit back to shoot against the post and Patterson then had to make a great save, low down, from the same player.
Sunderland grabbed the winner in stoppage time as sub Ryan Leonard centred from the right and Diamond stretched to turn the ball over the line.
Sunderland coach Mark Atkinson said: “I thought we controlled the first half with good build-up play, but the final ball was lacking. In the second period, we kept going and I was very pleased with the persistence shown to finally clinch the win.”
Sunderland U18s: Patterson, Howard (McAughtrie 76), Kokolo, Evans, Dervali (Edmundsson). Young, Kimpioka, Hackett, Dunne, Connelly, Diamond. Subs not used: Newman. Devine