Sunderland started brightly and created an early opportunity, but nobody was on the end of the cross.
Rovers gradually got into the game and their first chance fell to Nichol Forster on 11 minutes, but she was unable to hold off the defender to score.
In an end-to-end encounter, Rovers broke from a Sunderland corner and Danielle Oates flashed a ball across the six-yard box, but no-one was on the end of it.
Sunderland tried their luck from long range on a couple of occasions, but never troubled Gemma Jackson.
Rovers then had a clear-cut chance when a cross somehow caught Keeleigh Savage on the knee and bounced away.
Shortly after, Rovers gave away possession and Sunderland punished them. A ball out wide was whipped in and a bullet header into the top corner sent Sunderland 1-0 up at half-time.
Straight from the restart and Sunderland doubled their lead. A blatant push on Emily Farrell went unnoticed and the Sunderland player who committed the foul fired it in.
From then on, Rovers were solid, without really creating much. They looked to hit Sunderland on the break and tried their luck from distance, but to no avail, as the game fizzled out to a 2-0 defeat.
Manager Scott Rogers said: “This was a great work out for us. Sunderland are a very talented team and I felt we equipped ourselves really well.
“Even though we were on the wrong end of the result, we were delighted with how we played. It is a good marker to move into the Wolves game for the league opener.
“We are aware that it’s going to be an extremely hard game and we will be well prepared for Sunday.”
ROVERS: Jackson, Pennington, Oates (Palmieri 80), Bennett, Trialist (Roberts 48), Farrell (Western 55), Turner, H. Forster, Westerman (Halligan 30), Savage, N. Forster.