Sunderland were subject to a frustrating afternoon on Saturday as they slipped to defeat at the hands of Teesside rivals Middlesbrough at the Academy of Light.
Superior finishing was the essential difference between the two sides and it was Boro who provided it.
The first half was actually nip and tuck and quite even in terms of possession but two goals for the visitors before the break virtually killed the game off.
The opening goal came on 19 minutes when a lobbed shot - hooked into the top corner from 25 yards by Connor Mally, seemed to catch Sunderland keeper Michael Woud by surprise.
The young Black Cats came back with efforts from Jack Diamond and Lee Connelly but the defence was split wide open by a fast passing move five minutes before the break. It was Boro's Jay Wilson that supplied the finish, looking up and picking his spot just inside the far post.
Disaster struck for Sunderland early in the second half when a fierce cross by Wilson was sliced into his own net by Oscar Krusnell, crashing past a startled keeper Woud.
The rampant visitors made it four when Steven Walker steered the ball into the top of the goal from eight yards following a well worked corner.
One minute later, Fergus McAughtrie slammed home a left footed half volley from 15 yards for a consolation Sunderland goal.
However, Boro still had the last say when Tyrone O'Neil notched a fifth from close range following slick interpassing to round off a decisive win.
Speaking post match, Elliott Dickman said: "I was disappointed with the performance and obviously the result.
“The first half was better for us but they took their chances far better throughout".
Sunderland: Woud, Gamble (Kimpioka 45), Krusnell (Young 55), Allan (Hickey 65), Taylor, Storey, Best, Hackett, Diamond, Connelly, McAughtrie.
Middlesbrough: Hemmings, Convory, Reading, Liddle (Spence 82), Guru, Renton, Holdsworth, Mally (Willson 72), O'Neil, Wilson, Walker.