Sunderland under-23s suffered late heartbreak in the Premier League Cup, with a 2-1 defeat to Liverpool at Eppleton CW on Sunday.
There was nothing to separate the two sides in the opening 45 minutes, with Isaac Christie-Davies going closest when he rattled the bar.
Benji Kimpioka put the Lads ahead in the 48th minute with a neat turn and finish, but it was cancelled out by Michael Collins’ unfortunate own-goal.
And then Rhian Brewster won and scored a penalty in the 83rd minute to ensure his side came away with all three points in Group F of the Premier League Cup.
Elliot Dickman made a host of changes for the clash, with Anthony Patterson coming back in between the sticks and Kimpioka leading the line after featuring for the first team in midweek.
After an impeccably observed minute’s silence on Remembrance Sunday, the visitors took no time in getting on the front foot.
Just 30 seconds in, Christie-Davies weaved his way down the left before sliding in Brewster, who saw his effort well saved by Patterson.
The Reds went close again ten minutes later, when a thunderous effort from Christie-Davies crashed against the crossbar.
Sunderland held firm for the rest of the first half, with centre back trio Andrias Edmundsson, Jack Bainbridge and Collins thwarting everything that came towards the box.
The Lads raced out of the stalls after the interval and took the lead in the 48th minute.
Bali Mumba found space down the right and whipped in a cross towards Kimpioka, who expertly brought the ball down, swivelled, and fired into the bottom left corner from 12-yards.
And Sunderland had Patterson to thank for preserving their lead moments later.
First the stopper raced out to block from Christie-Davies when the winger was bearing down on goal, and then he produced a magnificent save at full stretch to tip Tony Gallacher’s effort around the post.
But the Reds’ pressure did pay off in the 67th minute courtesy of an own goal.
Gallacher’s low cross deflected off the heel of Collins, and wrong footed a helpless Patterson at his near post.
And the own-goal sparked a late Liverpool fightback.
With just under 10 minutes left to play, Brewster won a penalty for the Reds after he was brought down by Bainbridge.
The England under-21 international made no mistake from 12-yards, slotting the ball calmly down the middle.
Sunderland gave it everything they had in the closing stages, but it came to no avail as they slipped to a narrow defeat.
The defeat leaves Sunderland with one point from their opening two games in Group F of the Premier League Cup.
Sunderland: Patterson, Mumba, Gamble, Edmundsson (Kokolo, 90), Bainbridge ©, Collins, Dunne, Connolly, Kimpioka, Sammut, Connelly
Subs: Kokolo, Newman, Greenwood, Taylor, Foster
Liverpool: Atherton, Gallacher, Larouci, Van Den Berg, Clayton, Chirivella ©, Christie-Davies, Dixon-Bonner (Williams, 69), Brewster, Kane, Longstaff
Subs: Boyes, Winterbottom, Williams