League clash at Blackburn ends in defeat.
Blackburn Rovers U21 2 Sunderland U21 1
Kevin Ball's under-21s slipped to a late defeat at Blackburn despite a good away performance.
Ball was particularly pleased with his side's efforts in the first half, and they took the lead through Jordan Laidler before being pegged back just before half-time as former Everton man Anton Forrester found the mark.
Sunderland deserved something from the game and generated chances but were left to reflect on a defeat when Forrester plundered a second goal five minutes from time.
The Black Cats fielded a young side against a Blackburn outfit featuring the likes of returnig striker Leon Best and former Black Cat Dickson Etuhu.
However, the visitors rose to the challenge and struck first when Jordan Laidler's free-kick took a deflection and beat Rovers keeper Grzegorz Sandomierski.
Ball's side had chances to extend their lead as both Alex Gorrin and Mikael Mandron went close, the latter after latching onto a lovely through ball by Craig Lynch.
But the hosts gradually worked their way back into the game with Sunderland keeper Jordan Pickford denying Fabio Nunes before Best saw a shot blocked.
Rovers were level five minutes before the break through Forrester, who raced away from the visiting defence to slip the ball under the advancing Pickford for his third goal in as many games.
Chances were few and far between after the break, although Sunderland came close to going ahead again 19 minutes from time when Liam Marrs crossed from the right for Mandron to head narrowly wide.
But it was the visitors who took the points five minutes from time; Nunes whipping in a dangerous cross for Forrester, who popped up to head in from close range.
The goal was harsh on Sunderland, who deserved more from the game and almost snatched a draw late on as Lynch fired just over from the edge of the box.
Sunderland: Pickford, Marrs, Ferguson, Laidler, Harrison, McNamee, Mitchell, Gorrin, Mandron, Lynch, Honeyman (Ryan Noble, 70).
Subs not used: Wilson, Joyce, Smith.