Eric Kinder's squad featured no less than seven regulars at Under-18 level and whilst they performed admirably, they went down 3-1 against a much older and stronger Black Cats outfit.
Rovers battled well in the first half against a Sunderland side that created the majority of the chances.
Mikael Mandron fired wide after a minute before Duncan Watmore tested Simon Eastwood in the Rovers goal.
It was goalless at the break but early in the second half the home side opened the scoring, Alex Gorrin slipping the ball through for Mandron and he made no mistake.
The next goal is always crucial in football and it was Sunderland who claimed it albeit in controversial circumstances, the Black Cats awarded a penalty after the ball rolled down the arm of the helpless Anthony O'Connor after the forward kicked it against him.
Gorrin made no mistake from the resulting spot kick, but to their credit the young Rovers didn't let their heads drop.
Their hard work was rewarded on 65 minute when Devarn Green pounced on a mis-placed pass to race through and cooly slot home for his second goal in as many matches for the Under-21s.
However Sunderland restored their two-goal advantage with 15 minutes remaining as Simon Eastwood's superb point-blank save went unrewarded as Adam Mitchell tapped home the rebound.
Speaking after the match, Under-21s coach Eric Kinder was proud of the way his young side stuck at their task despite the difference in age and experience.
"We were very young and we came up a Sunderland side who were miles ahead of us," said Kinder.
"They were a good side, they were older and they were stronger, but I was pleased that we kept going, we didn't throw the towel in.
"On the balance of play I've no argument with the result.
"We are going to be very young this season and this is a hard league, it might be a difficult year but we've an honest group of lads and hopefully we'll reap the rewards in a couple of years time."
Adam Henley was replaced on the half hour after feeling his hamstring tighten up, the physios taking no chances in substituting the Welshman as a precaution, with Kinder hoping that it was caught in time.
"Adam felt his hamstring tighten so he was taken off straight away as a precaution," added the coach.
"He's had no problems whatsoever in all the other games, he'll be assessed by the physio team today."
Season ticket holders can see the match for free on production of their season ticket card. General admission prices are £4 Adults, £2 Concessions.
Kick-off is at 7.00pm.
SUNDERLAND: Dixon, Marrs, Ferguson, Agnew (sub Cartwright 80 mins), Harrison, McNamee, Watmore (sub Holland 79 mins), Gorrin, Mandron, Lawson (sub Honeyman 75 mins), Mitchell.
Subs not used: Burke, Robson.
ROVERS: Eastwood, Henley (sub Paulo Jorge 27 mins), Doyle (sub Preston 75 mins), Daly, Tumwa, O'Connor, Bauress, Payne, Green, Wassi (sub Pero 60 mins), R. Hanley.
Subs not used: Raya, Vicars.