By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter
Sunderland U18s 2 (Callaghan 23, Laidler 28)
Newcastle United U18s 2 (Knight pen 36, Gibbons og 75)
Ten-man Newcastle United came from two goals down to draw with local rivals Sunderland at a windy Academy of Light.
After making an unusually sloppy start, Dave Watson's table-toppers went behind to goals from Anthony Callaghan and Jordan Laidler.
Dennis Knight pulled one back from the spot before being shown a straight red card on 70 minutes with United still trailing to last season's Premier Academy League Group D champions.
But the Magpies refused to accept a derby day defeat, and their efforts were rewarded when Black Cats defender Lewis Gibbons headed past his own goalkeeper.
Newcastle had to early opportunities as Knight's third minute free-kick was sent too close to keeper Joel Dixon before Marcus Maddison's goalbound effort hit Dan Taylor and was sent off course.
However, the hosts began to gain the upper hand and Nathan Thomas volleyed off target from an Adam Mitchell cross before the winger saw Alex Baird tip a rising strike over the bar.
United's Australian keeper was in action again to push a deflected effort from George Honeyman around the post, but he was beaten on 23 minutes when Thomas' cross-cum-shot was parried by Baird, only for left-back Callaghan to tuck away the loose ball.
And things got worse five minutes later, as Honeyman found Laidler in the box and the striker turned and fired home.
But the Magpies - who had already gone close through Knight's first-time effort from a Michael Hoganson cross, which went just too high - roared back as Maddison jinked into the box and drew a rash challenge from Martin Smith. The Sunderland man had been booked moments earlier, and was lucky not to be shown a second yellow but United had a route back into the game.
The elements did their best to put Knight off, as the ball rolled off the spot as he began his initial run-up, but he stayed cool and slotted past Dixon and on 42 minutes, Newcastle came within inches of an equaliser as Remie Streete slid in to connect with Maddison's low right-wing cross, only for the ball to cannon back off the base of the post.
In the second half, Knight almost caught out the keeper with an audacious 45-yard effort before Dan Taylor fired wide from a promising position.
Another effort from Knight went over before Ben Sayer hit a half-volley just the wrong side of the post. But then, with Newcastle looking certain to find a route back into the game, Knight saw red - the midfielder, probably United's best player of the day, dismissed for an apparent elbow in the direction of Thomas.
Watson responded by bringing on striker JJ Hooper and within two minutes, his side were back on level terms. Brandon Miele's free-kick from the left was aimed towards the substitute, but Gibbons got there first only to divert the ball into his own net.
Sunderland - managed by former Black Cats captain Kevin Ball - pushed for a winner late on, with Laidler getting in a shot on the turn which Baird did well to stop before the keeper got a leg to Thomas' ball across goal, which looked to be sneaking in at the near post.
Laidler shot wide from the resulting corner before Thomas was denied a goal two minutes from time by a combination of Streete and Baird.
It was a Tyne-Wear derby which had everything - a dramatic comeback, a red card and plenty more besides - but in the end honours were even.
Newcastle United Under-18s: Alex Baird, Steven Logan (Jamie Smith 82), Michael Riley, Remie Streete, Louis Storey, Marcus Maddison (Will Turton 61), Ben Sayer, Brandon Miele, Michael Hoganson, Dennis Knight, Dan Taylor (JJ Hooper 73)
Subs not used: Jonathan Mitchell, Lee Toland