LEE CATTERMOLE made his Sunderland return last night after completing his three-match suspension.
But it was not a happy comeback for the midfielder as the Black Cats crashed out of the Under-21 Premier League Cup after a second half comeback from hosts Burnley.
Cattermole, who had hoped to feature in last week’s cancelled U21 friendly against Darlington, completed the full 90 minutes at Turf Moor to top his up fitness ahead of Saturday’s first-team trip to Aston Villa.
The 25-year-old was part of a strong Sunderland side with summer signings Cabral, Charis Mavrias, David Moberg Karlsson and El-Hadji Ba all featuring for Kevin Ball’s side.
And it was the visitors who broke the deadlock in the ninth minute when Craig Lynch intercepted Luke Conlan’s back pass before sliding the ball beyond Burnley stopper Alex Cisak.
Burnley, who fielded former Sunderland striker Ryan Noble, almost grabbed an immediate equaliser when the lively Luke Gallagher fired into the side netting and then unleashed a shot just over the top from 25 yards in the 15th minute.
Midway through the first half, Cisak made a smart save to deny Ba after the French midfielder burst into the area and smashed a shot towards the top corner.
Sunderland stopper Joel Dixon was called into action in the 31st minute when he pushed away Steven Hewitt’s effort.
Early in the second half, Dixon produced an even better save when he kept out Noble’s deflected effort before Jason Gilchrist put the rebound wide.
But in the 64th minute, Burnley’s pressure paid off when Gallagher cut inside from the right and curled the ball into the far top corner from just outside the box.
Substitute Duncan Watmore went close to regaining the lead with five minutes to go when his effort deflected wide off defender Kevin Long.
But it was Championship leaders Burnley who were to grab a dramatic late winner when Long’s header came back off the bar and Conlan tucked away the rebound on the volley to send the Clarets into the last 16 of the competition.
BURNLEY: Cisak, Dummigan, Conlan, Howieson, Coleman, Long, Gilchrist, Hewitt, Noble, Frost, Gallagher. Subs not used: Nizic, Errington, Brownhill, Daly, Hill
SUNDERLAND: Dixon, Laing, Harrison, Egan, Ferguson, Mavrias (Honeyman 83), Cattermole, Cabral (Agnew 68), Lynch, Ba, Moberg Karlsson (Watmore 56). Subs not used: Stryjek, McNamee.