An even first half on Wearside produced two goals, as Will Cain gave Sunderland the advantage as his finessed shot beat City keeper George Murray-Jones.
However, Ben Wilkinson's youngsters responded well as Lawrence calmly converted a shot into the bottom corner to draw us level before half-time.
The opening phases of the game were played at a high intensity, with both teams knowing they could be top of the league at the final whistle.
After patient build-up play, Lawrence cut inside on the left, but his shot travelled straight at the goalkeeper before rebound efforts from Nico O’Reilly and Farid Alfa-Ruprecht were also denied.
City kept searching for the breakthrough, as Alfa-Ruprecht was smartly played through.
However, the angle was tight, and he could only fire his effort at Matt Young in the Sunderland goal.
This gave Sunderland belief, as Murray-Jones was called into some heroic goalkeeping, producing a stunning double save from Cotcher to keep it level.
The hosts capitalised from a mistake, as Smith lost the ball in our half and an attacking sequence ended with Will Cain who curled in an attempt from the edge of the box to give Sunderland the lead.
City responded soon after, as O’Reilly lead a counter-attack after winning possession, before sliding a ball through to Lawrence in the box, who placed the ball into the bottom corner to see us go into the break level.
Both team’s defences were on top, as the second half became more tactical with the head coaches shouting instructions to their players.
Another Sunderland break nearly caught us out, as a cross was played into Will Dowling his fired shot was blocked by Murray-Jones and Smith.
We saw ourselves having to defend resolutely for a spell of the game, as a Thomas Watson shot was saved again by Murray-Jones who was having a fine game.
The game became end to end in the remaining minutes as both teams sought a winner.
But the match finished level after a Jacob Wright free kick landed in the palms of Young in the Sunderland goal deep into stoppage time.
HOW WE LINED UP
XI: Young, Williams, Bainbridge, Burke, Fieldson, Johnson, Moore, Cain, Cotcher, Middlemas, Watson
SUBS: Dowling, Robertson, Jones, Waters, Cameron
Manchester City Under-18s
XI: Murray-Jones, Samuel, Smith, Alleyne, Whittingham, Okeke, Wright, O’Reilly (C), Alfa-Ruprecht, Oboavwoduo, Lawrence
SUBS: Grant, Carrington, Simpson-Pusey, Harrison, Ndala
WHAT IT MEANS
A draw still keeps us three points behind Sunderland in the table keenly poised in second place.
City are back in action again next weekend when we play host to Wolves at the City Football Academy.
Kick-off is scheduled for 12pm on Saturday 3 December.
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