SAINTS B saw their winning run come to an end despite leading with 20 minutes left to play, following a 3-2 defeat during a long trip to Sunderland.

Ellis Taylor put the home side ahead before Saints’ Dominic Ballard and Dynel Simeu had reversed the scoreline, but two late strikes from Tyrese Dyce and Stephen Wearne secured all three points.

It ended a run of five successive wins and five successive clean sheets for Dave Horseman’s B team, including four in Premier League 2.

The coach was forced to name a youthful outfit and there were no Saints seniors to be seen, with the likes of 17-year-old Ballard, Kamari Doyle and Lewis Payne involved from the off.

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Regular B team captain Kegs Chauke was missing from the squad through illness, the Daily Echo can confirm, amid a week of reports linking him to transfer interest from European giants Manchester City and more.

Jack Turner started for the first time since 2019 as he continues his return from a couple of serious injuries, a few seasons after being one of the under-18s key players.

But the Black Cats took the lead after 17 minutes, with Taylor finding space inside the area for a finish into the far corner.

It was a combination of two 17-year-olds for the equaliser just five minutes later, with Payne’s low and dangerous cross eventually falling at the feet of Ballard to nudge home.

Horseman’s side enjoyed the better of the possession from then on in, cashing in early in the second period through Simeu’s pinpoint header at the back post from Caleb Watts’ delivery – his second goal in as many Premier League 2 matches.

The second half also saw a return to action for last year’s scholar of the year Will Tizzard, who had missed a large portion of this season with a broken foot.

However, talented Dyce was able to tap home an equaliser in the 71st minute, before Wearne was able to fire into the net from an initial Saints clearance with just five to play.

The result leaves Saints B ninth in Premier League 2 Division Two with 14 points from 12 matches played, now two points behind Sunderland in eighth.