By Adam Baxter and Adam Smith
Sunderland FoL Scholars suffered a heart-breaking loss to table toppers Coventry City after a dramatic 90 minutes on Wednesday.
Coventry scored two first half goals only for Sunderland to fight back and equalise in the last minute.
But Sunderland hearts were broken after a breakaway goal restored Coventry’s lead deep into added time.
Sunderland struggled to deal with the physicality of Coventry from the off and found it hard to play at their usual tempo during the first half.
The home side were undone by a through ball 19 minutes in and were punished after Coventry slotted the ball past the stranded Elliot Stephenson.
Sunderland fought back and carved out half chances, which they failed to take; Jack Hanson saw a shot go wide and Alex Ramshaw had a shot saved after a driving run.
However it was Coventry who capitalised on their chances and added a second goal just before half time. Stephenson’s poor clearance was latched onto by a Coventry counter attack and the visitors scored with another low shot to make it 2-0.
On the stroke of halftime Sunderland were awarded a penalty after Coventry were penalised for holding and Aaron Duell steped up to power the ball past the keeper.
Sunderland were dominant in the second half and saw two goals disallowed for offside as well as hitting the woodwork.
Their biggest chance to draw level fell to Duell, who was once again on penalty duty, but the midfielder blasted the ball over the bar with half an hour remaining.
Coventry looked to have survived Sunderland’s pressure but the home side finally equalised in the last minute through Jak Hanson. Duell’s whipped free kick was not dealt with and the Sunderland striker pounced on the loose ball.
As Sunderland looked to use their momentum to find a winner, Coventry countered and carved through a stretched defence before scoring the winning goal.
The victory ensured Coventry extended their lead at the top of the National Football Youth League.