In a tight game in terrible conditions, Rovers were the better of the two sides, but slipped to a narrow loss.
A slow start from David Lowe's side saw them go a goal down after just 20 minutes.
A long clearance upfield wasn't dealt with allowing the Sunderland striker to steal in between the two centre halves to open the scoring.
The rest of the first half was an even affair, but Rovers came out in the second with renewed enthusiasm, grabbing a deserved equaliser on 55 minutes.
Good play in the centre of midfield by Brice Wassi saw him thread the ball through to Sam Joel and he finished in fine style for his second of the campaign.
Boosted by the goal Rovers went looking for the lead however it was the Black Cats who grabbed the all-important winner.
A swirling shot somehow squirmed from the grasp of 'keeper Callum Williams and as the ball struck the foot of the post, a Sunderland man was on hand first to force the ball over the line.
Unbowed Rovers went looking for an equaliser once more with Modou Cham, Sam Lavelle and Luke Wall all going close, but it wasn't to be.
"The lads showed a fantastic attitude and plenty of commitment in difficult conditions," said Under-18s coach David Lowe.
"It was a very positive showing from us in the second half when we were much the better side.
"We were really unfortunate not to come away with something from the game."
ROVERS: Williams, Vicars, Doyle, Butterwick, Lavelle, Pierce (sub Langford 82 mins), Joel, Wassi, Wall (sub Cham 62 mins), Harris, Torres (sub Tanner 75 mins).
Subs not used: Edgar.