SUNDERLAND'S development side missed out on the opportunity to go to the top of Barclays Under-21 Premier League as they slipped to a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Manchester United.
Kevin Ball's youthful second string came under some early pressure and were indebted to goalkeeper Joel Dixon, who produced a fine early save to deny Davide Petrucci.
However, Manchester United claimed the lead five minutes before the interval when Jesse Lingard intercepted Andrew Cartwright's pass and drilled home from 22 yards.
Jordan Laidler went close for Sunderland on the stroke of half-time, but Manchester United almost doubled their lead when Petrucci fired against the post.
Sunderland hit the woodwork themselves when Adam Mitchell curled a late free-kick against the upright, but Manchester United held on as the Black Cats' development side failed to score for the first time in a competitive game this season.