By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter
Sunderland Under-18s 4 (Honeyman, Smith, Mandron 2 (1 pen))
Newcastle United Under-18s 2 (Gilliead, Gillesphey)
In spite of a much improved second half performance, Newcastle's under-18s were beaten in the first Tyne-Wear derby of the season.
Dave Watson's side hit the woodwork twice at the Academy of Light, once in each half, and refused to lie down against the Black Cats.
George Honeyman and Martin Smith were on target for Sunderland alongside two goal Frenchman Mikael Mandron, while Alex Gilliead and Macaulay Gillesphey replied for the Magpies.
Still full of confidence from their 1-0 win over Stoke two weeks ago, United started brightly on a beautiful morning in Cleadon.
Colombian teenager Esteban Cardona Lopez created the first opening, flicking the ball over the head of Glen Lane and cutting the ball back for Adam Armstrong, whose shot flew over.
Number ten Armstrong then headed wide after Greg Olley had seen an effort partially smothered by Jonathan Maddison before the 15-year-old dug out a fine cross from the left which was headed too close to the keeper by Gilliead.
But against the run of play, the hosts took the lead on 17 minutes when Mandron slipped in Honeyman and the left-winger slotted home.
Buoyed by their goal, Sunderland nearly got another when Ethan Robson was tackled by Kyle Cameron only for the ball to roll back into his path for a 20-yard strike which whistled just over.
On 28 minutes, Olley might have done better when Armstrong's cross was missed by a defender but the left midfielder dragged his effort across goal.
And three minutes later, Martin Smith doubled the Wearsiders' advantage after great work from Honeyman on the left.
To their credit, Newcastle's response was swift as straight from the kick-off, Armstrong saw an attempted lob saved before skipper Liam Smith's arrowing strike crashed back off a post.
Seconds later, though, and United did have a goal back as Macauley Booth ghosted into the box and saw his shot parried to the feet of Gilliead, who smashed home the loose ball.
Game on - or so it appeared until Sunderland went straight up the pitch and won a penalty for a supposed push by Jonathyn Quinn on Andrew Cartwright - the son of former United player Peter - and Mandron sent Jonathan Mitchell the wrong way.
Newcastle came out fighting in the second period, however, and on 58 minutes Quinn saw his low strike rebound back off a post with Maddison beaten.
Sunderland still created chances as Mandron headed wide before an amazing goalmouth scramble somehow ended without another goal. Smith was thwarted by a fine Mitchell save and then Ryan McKinnon threw his body in the way of Mandron's follow-up.
An exciting finale looked to be on the cards when Gillesphey - only just on as a substitute - emphatically headed Lopez's corner home.
But any team managed by former Darlington legend Craig Liddle was bound to show character and almost instantly, the two goal cushion was restored by Mandron.
Newcastle United Under-18s: Jonathan Mitchell, Jamie Sterry (James Morgan 72), Macauley Booth, Ryan McKinnon, Kyle Cameron, Esteban Cardona Lopez, Jonathyn Quinn, Liam Smith, Greg Olley (Macaulay Gillesphey 72), Adam Armstrong, Alex Gilliead
Subs not used: Freddie Woodman, Ben Drennan, Daniel Barlaser