In what was an incredible game, Sunderland's Development Side were defeated 4-3 at the International Stadium by Conference side Gateshead last night, in their penultimate preseason game, and highest standard of opposition.
A youthful Sunderland side started off in great form, with two goals inside the opening five minutes. First Adam Reed found the net via a deflection with two minutes on the clock, quickly doubled by Jordan Laidler on five minutes who finished with style from inside the area.
A rout was clearly being threatened, but Gateshead fought back and grabbed a goal on 15-minutes from Chris Bush. A dangerous cross into the are was never dealt with well by the defence or Jordan Pickford and Bush rifled the ball home.
Things settled through to half time, however in the opening to the second half Sunderland managed to compose themselves and start to take the game to Gateshead once again. Roarie Deacon was the chief protagonist, as he had two chances to extend the lead, but found opposing 'keeper Adam Bartlett in good form.
The hosts were given a lifeline mid-way through the second half when Pickford brought down striker Yemi Odubade inside the area. Dusting himself down, as is customary, the former Oxford United man crashed his spot kick off the crossbar.
It didn't deter Gateshead from pushing on for a leveler. Nathan Fisher, Carl Magnay, and Bush once again all had chances to equalise before Ryan McGorrigan finally did with 18 minutes left on the clock.
The former Newcastle academy product was quickest to latch on to another tasty cross into the area, and dinked the ball beyond Pickford for the equalising goal.
Minutes later that gut-wrenching late goal for Gateshead felt even worse as Nathan Fisher grabbed what he and most spectators thought was the winning goal with an exceptional strike from all of 25-yards, worthy of winning any contest.
More twists were to come though, and Billy Knott equalised with five minutes to go with a crisp drive from 20 yards, driven beyond Bartlett into the bottom corner, however it wasn't to be the final say in proceedings. McGorrigan once again when he drilled home after picking up Fisher's ball in for a last minute winner.
New manager of the side, Kevin Ball, told the clubs official website after the game;
Some of the football we played possession-wise was outstanding and I felt really comfortable in the game. But conceding those goals has annoyed me. We produced some great play but some of the goals against beggared belief, to be honest.
We came here with a very young team against a decent Gateshead outfit and held our own, no problem. We should have won the game but the way we conceded the goals frustrated me.
His side next travel to York City for their final preseason game next week.