A “bitterly disappointed” Elliott Dickman demanded “a hell of a lot more” from his side as Sunderland U23’s lost 2-1 to Sunderland RCA in the First Round of the Durham Challenge Cup on Tuesday.

The Black Cats had taken an early lead in the first half through Lee Connelly, but RCA were level after half an hour with captain Greg Swansbury scoring from close range.

Experienced striker Colin Larkin put RCA ahead from the spot with 20 minutes to play and the Northern League side were unlucky not to increase their lead late on.

Sunderland U23’s manager Dickman said: “I’m really disappointed. I think RCA had a game plan. They stuck to it, and they made it really difficult for us.

“They were a bit smarter and showed a better understanding of competition football, and men’s football, which is tough to take.

“All credit to Sunderland RCA, they deserve to go through to the next round, and we’re bitterly disappointed that we’re not there.

“I don’t think we played anywhere near the standard of football that we can do, and we’ve got to show a hell of a lot more than what we’ve shown tonight.”

Dickman added: “From a result point of view, it’s disappointing to keep losing games, but we just need to make sure that we’re producing some players for Jack Ross and his staff to hopefully pick.

“That’s what we’ve got to do, our job is to try to educate them and get them across to play with the first team.

“We’ve got Ben Kimpioka and Bali Mumba with the first team tonight and it’s great that the lads are still getting that chance.

“The fact we’ve got a couple of lads across there, and one or two of these lads might get the opportunity to train there as well is a positive.”