Coach Elliott Dickman insists that Sunderland deserved to get off the mark in the Under-18s Premier League Northern Division on Saturday.
Instead, the Black Cats suffered a fifth successive defeat this season, 2-0 away to West Brom, despite an encouraging performance which could have secured all three points on another day.
Sunderland were awarded a penalty in the 10th minute, but Albion keeper Bradley House pulled off a good save to his right to keep out Adam Bale’s spot-kick.
Lee Connelly’s header drew a wonder save from the keeper as Sunderland maintained their impressive start.
But the biggest setback of all came later in the first half when Jack Diamond burst down the right and drove the ball into the net, only to be given offside.
Video evidence later showed that the effort should have stood as Diamond was clearly onside. So, instead of the Wearsiders leading by two or three goals, the game remained goalless at the break.
Albion then made the most of the let-offs and two goals in 10 minutes have them the points.
The opener was netted by defender Panagiotis Artymatas from a goalmouth scramble following a set-piece on 55 minutes.
West Brom doubled their lead with a Rayhaan Tulloch tap-in from a left-wing cross which was not cut out 10 minutes later.
Sunderland attempted a late rally, but it was all too late to gain even a point.
Coach Dickman said: “We didn’t deserve to lose having played so well.”
Things don’t get any easier this coming Saturday when second-top Manchester City, with three wins and two draws in an unbeaten start featuring 14 goals, visit the Academy of Light (11am kick-off).
Sunderland: Pain, Howard, Taylor, Young (Biwer 75), McAughtrie, Diamond, Bale, Allan, Kimpioka (Best 67), Fowler (Leonard 67), Connelly.