Sunderland under-23s rescued a point late on against Legia Warsaw in the Premier League International Cup to go top of Group B.

The Black Cats fell behind when Robert Bartczak put the Polish side in front 33 minutes in before substitute Andrew Nelson netted four minutes from time to ensure the points were shared.

Elliott Dickman made four changes following last Wednesday’s penalty shootout win at Grimsby Town in the Checkatrade Trophy.

First-team faces Callum McManaman, Jack Rodwell, Donald Love and Brendan Galloway were all absent at Eppleton CW and were replaced by Rees Greenwood, Brandon Taylor, Denver Hume and Joel Asoro.

Both sides struggled to impose themselves on proceedings in the early stages of the game, with the first chance coming 22 minutes in as Jack Diamond played Asoro in behind only for Jakub Szumski to block at the Swede’s feet.

Szumski was called into action on the half-hour mark as Owen Gamble tried his luck from 25 yards out and the Polish keeper made a meal of it as he almost spilled the shot into his own net.

Despite the early chances falling Sunderland’s way it was Legia who took the lead as Michał Góral’s 20-yard strike deflected wide for Bartczak, who slotted under the on-rushing James Talbot to put his side ahead.

The hosts were undeterred by the setback however and pushed forward in search of an equaliser, with Asoro testing Szumski after cutting inside from the left-wing and shooting towards the centre of the goal.

Ethan Robson began to drive forward more often in the second period with Sunderland chasing the game, and he created a chance for Luke Molyneux whose shot was deflected over the bar.

Robson continued to cause problems for the Legia defence throughout the second half, feeding Greenwood after winning the ball back in the centre of midfield but the winger sent his 20-yard shot wide of the mark.

Jack Diamond came close to finding an equaliser in the final 10 minutes following a solo run towards the edge of the box, but his shot rolled just wide of Szumski’s goal.

Sunderland’s endeavour paid off four minutes from time as substitute Nelson – fresh from last month’s loan spell at Harrogate Town – latched onto the ball on the right side of the box and diverted it past Szumski to earn his side a point.

Sunderland U23s (4-2-3-1): Talbot; Gamble, Hume, Taylor, Beadling; Bale, Diamond (Kimpioka, 83′), Robson, Greenwood (Connelly, 83′), Molyneux; Asoro (Nelson, 66′).

Goals: Nelson (86′)

Legia Warsaw U23s (4-4-1-1): Szumski; Turzyniecki, Wełnicki, Żyro, Bartczak; Cichocki (Więdłocha, 72′), Nishi, Praszelik (Bondarenko, 83′), Moneta; Aftyka (Szczepański, 59′); Góral.

Goals: Bartczak (33′)