Sunderland fell to a 2-1 home defeat against Sheffield United in the Sky Bet Championship.
Edouard Michut opened his Black Cats account with a well-taken goal before James McAtee’s curling effort levelled the scores on half time. Tommy Doyle’s second-half set piece claimed all three points for the visitors.
Sunderland came out of the blocks fast and almost scored within two minutes; Patrick Roberts’ pullback teed up Trai Hume, but Wes Foderingham was down quickly to deny the defender.
The visitors responded within a matter of minutes, Daniel Jebbison’s fizzed shot from inside the host’s box forcing Anthony Patterson into a neat save down to his left.
The deadlock was broken on the half-hour mark, Abdoullah Ba initially created space before inch perfectly finding the run of Michut who expertly drilled the ball into Foderingham’s bottom right-hand corner.
The visitors caught Sunderland on the counterattack on the stroke of half-time, McAtee jinking his way past a couple of defenders before side-footing his shot beyond Patterson to level the scores.
The Blades came close to taking the lead inside the opening stage of the second half when McAtee released Iliman N’diaye, but Patterson was off his line quickly to force a corner.
Sheffield United took the lead on the hour mark when Doyle’s in swinging free-kick evaded everyone inside the host’s six-yard box finding Patterson’s far corner.
Sunderland continued to pile the pressure on firstly Jack Clarke forced Foderingham into a fine low stop before Roberts’ curling effort on the opposite wing beat everyone but the goalkeeper’s far post.
Hume was next to come within inches of finding the back of the net, Clarke’s cross from the left agonisingly rolling past the right back’s outstretched leg for a goal kick.
Despite a valiant effort by Tony Mowbray’s side, they were unable to salvage a point in the closing stages.
Sunderland are back in action at the Stadium of Light on Saturday when they go head-to-head with high-flying Luton Town in the Sky Bet Championship.
Sunderland XI: Patterson, Hume, Batth ©, Ballard, O’Nien (Ekwah 87’), Michut (Gooch 71’), Neil, Roberts, Ba (Lihadji 71’), Clarke, Gelhardt (Pritchard 71’)
Substitutes: Bass, Bennette, Anderson.
Sheffield United XI: Foderingham, Baldock (Bogle 78’), Ahmedhodzic, Egan ©, Robinson, Lowe, Doyle (Norwood 78’), Berge, McAtee (Fleck 80’), N’diaye (Sharp 90+1), Jebbison (McBurnie 69’)
Substitutes: Davies, Basham.