Goals on each side of half-time saw Sunderland take the win in the Wear-Tees Derby and their first win of the season at Hetton.
Sunderland started brightly, with Georgia Gibson having shots from the edge of the area saved and blocked in the sixth and eighth minutes.
Bridget Galloway forced a save from Laura Wareham with 11 minutes played, as she shot across goal while under pressure from Emma Foster inside the Middlesbrough penalty area.
Middlesbrough had some efforts of their own, Emily Scarr and Rebekah Bass each forced saves from Sophy Stonehouse with long range strikes.
Sunderland had the best change so far with 26 minutes played. A great run and pass from Mollie Lambert saw Katie Barker have a shot saved before Galloway’s close range effort from the rebound was deflected over the bar.
Gibson went close once again three minutes later, her low dive across goal looked to have Wareham beaten but went just wide of the left post.
Boro captain Emma Kelly’s curling long range effort had Stonehouse scrambling but fell just wide of the post.
Sunderland got their break through on the brink of half-time. Keira Ramshaw fired a free kick into the top right corner in the second minute of injury time to give Sunderland a narrow advantage at the break.
Three minutes after half-time Sunderland added a second. Galloway got the better of Foster to get on the end of Ramshaw’s though ball before going one-on-one with Wareham, placing the ball into the net to the ‘keeper’s left.
The Lady Black Cats’ would get a third in the 54th minute, as Galloway forced Wareham into a rushed clearance which fell straight to Ramshaw. She lifted the ball over the crowd on the edge of the area to get her second of the evening.
Scarr forced Stonehouse into a good save low to her left with 71 minutes played, cutting in from the left before shooting towards the far post.
Holly Manders had a great chance to pull on back for the visitors with 74 minutes played, shooting high to Stonehouse’s right while one-on-one with the ‘keeper, but Stonehouse won the battle, making the save at point-blank range.
Substitute Jordan Atkinson had an opportunity to add to Sunderland’s advantage after Galloway played her in, but her shot ran wide past the far post.
Boro pulled a goal back late on, as substitute Eleanor Dale scored at the near post with three minutes of normal time remaining to set up and interesting last few minutes.
However, Sunderland’s two goal cushion was never threatened after that, leaving the Black Cats to take their second win of the week.
Sunderland: Stonehouse, Brown, McCatty, Griffiths, Mullen, Ramshaw, Lambert, Gibson (Atkinson 73’), Young, Barker (Hutchinson 73’), Galloway
Middlesbrough: Wareham, Brown (Dale 54’), Hutchinson, Cramer (Birtwhistle 54’), Foster, Watt, Bass (Marshall 66’), Dobson, Manders, Kelly, Scarr