Sunderland Under-21s completed an underwhelming Checkatrade Trophy campaign by beating Grimsby in a penalty shootout on Wednesday night.

The game ended 1-1 with the Black Cats eventually winning 7-6 on penalties.

After losing their opening two group games against Scunthorpe and Doncaster, Elliott Dickman’s side couldn’t qualify from Group H and were only playing for pride on a cold evening at Blundell Park.

The Black Cats fell behind to a JJ Hooper penalty in the 78th minute, but Donald Love equalised almost immediately when he poked the ball home inside a crowded penalty area.

Teenager Adam Bale then scored the decisive spot kick to put Sunderland 7-6 up in the shootout, before Grimsby substitute Sean McAllister smacked his effort onto the crossbar.

In front of a crowd of just 248 fans – seven from Sunderland – the visitors started with Jack Rodwell, Brendan Galloway, Callum McManaman and Love in their side.

Even so, Dickman’s men almost fell behind on 16 minutes when Jack Diamond cleared off the line following a Grimsby corner.

Sunderland gradually took control of the contest and began to threaten the host’s goal midway through the first-half.

Luke Molyneux scuffed his effort wide before McManaman fired a shot over the bar, following a neat one-two with Diamond which opened up some space on the edge of the penalty area.

McManaman was Sunderland’s brightest spark in the opening 45 minutes and the 26-year-old winger was unfortunate not to open the scoring with another curling effort before the interval.

Despite seeing less of the ball, Grimsby did pose a threat on the break and Sunderland keeper James Tabot had to be alert to keep out Jamille Matt’s close range effort 10 minutes after the restart.

The visitors were far more potent in the second-half and got their reward 12 minutes from time when Galloway chopped down Grimsby’s Harry Cardwell inside the area.

Hooper duly converted from 12 yards, side-footing the ball into the bottom left-hand corner while sending Talbot the other way.

Sunderland responded instantly and within a minute Dickman’s side were back on level terms.

Grimsby failed to clear their lines after Galloway surged forward to launch an imposing Sunderland attack.

After a goalmouth scramble, the ball eventually dropped to Love who stabbed the ball past goalkeeper Ben Killip.

With no extra-time, the game went straight to penalties, but at that stage Sunderland couldn’t climb above Grimsby due to having an inferior goal difference.

The Black Cats won the shootout but still finished bottom of Group H with just two points.