Sunderland under-18s slipped to their first defeat in three games as Blackburn Rovers upstaged them in the U18 Premier League on Saturday.
The young Black Cats were on top in the opening phase but on 13 minutes, Blackburn went against the run of play and broke to take an early lead.
Winger Brad Lynch cut inside to beat two men and while Michael Woud produced a super save the ball fell kindly to Callum Hendry and he was on hand to score easily from close range.
The hosts replied through Lee Connelly who drove his effort across the face of goal before Woud was called into action at the other end as he saved well from dangerous wide man Lynch who broke through on goal.
The visitors had the ball in the net again following a good move but striker Dan Butterworth was ruled offside.
However, a minute before half-time Rovers doubled their lead following a ball played in from the right, Lynch spun his marker and advanced to drive home past Woud.
It was nothing more than they deserved but the goal came as a hammer blow to Sunderland as Blackburn went into the break with a commanding lead.
In the second period, the visitors kept pressing and Butterworth headed over from only two-yards out before Sunderland's Jack Diamond went close to halving the deficit with a header.
The hosts continued to pepper Rovers’ goal and on 80 minutes were denied again when Diamond saw his shot saved by Blackburn keeper Ben Ascroft.
Just as the youth team looked to be turning the screw in the closing stages, Rovers made sure of the victory as Joel Steer tapped home Woud’s parry.
Five minutes from time Rovers’ stopper Ascroft made a fine save and in the resulting melee Stefan Mols somehow twisted and headed off the line to deny the Wearsiders a consolation goal.
Speaking post-match Elliott Dickman said: "We just couldn't break down their strong defence. We had a good first half but the second goal gave them a boost and they were the better side in the second period."
Sunderland: Woud, Howard, Young, Taylor, McAughtrie, Hickey (Fowler 70), Diamond, Allan, Connelly, Hacket, Kimpoida (Best 45).