Jeremain Lens scored a stunning last-minute free-kick to snatch a friendly victory over hartlepool United.
The derby appeared to be heading towards a 1-1 draw until Scott Harrison pulled back Black Cats forward Josh Maja.
It gave Lens a chance from 22 yards and he sent his sweetly-struck free-kick into Scott Loach's right corner.
Sunderland had taken a 37th-minute lead through a Maja penalty but Ryan Donaldson equalised in the 64th minute with a fine finish at the Town End.
Pools made a good start, forcing a couple of early corners.
And Lewis Hawkins came close to giving Pools a 19th-minute lead with Lamine Kone hitting his own post as Sunderland survived ...just.
Scott Loach was called into action for the first time after the midpoint of the half when he saved from George Honeyman after good work by Joel Asoro on the right.
Summer signing James Vaughan was next to try his luck with an overhead kick from Ty Browning's cross from right but his specatcular attempt went hihh overe the bar at the Town End.
Sunderland took the lead in the 37th minute in controversial circumstances.
Pools made a hash of dealing with a simple ball leading to Louis Laing and Joel Asoro indulging in a spot of wrestling in the areea.
It looked, at worst six of one and half a dozen of the other, but referee Geoff Eltringham pointed to the spot.
MAJA was not debating it and produced an emphatic finish into Loach's top left corner.
It put a spring in the step of the Black Cats and Vaughan hit the side-netting from left of goal and at the end of the first period, Maja's free kick from 23 yards was saved superbly by Loach diving to his left.
There were no changes at the break and the second half began tamely.
But the game came to life just after the hour when Max Stryjek saved low to left from an Amond header after cross from Blair Adams.
And Pools were level in the 64th minute when sub Jack Munns got DONALDSON in behind Adam Matthews and he buried his shot past Stryjek from 14 yards.
It gave Pools a buzz and Michael Woods was soon trying his luck from 25 yards.
Sunderland brought on millions of pounds of talent when all the outfield subs were introduced and one of the arrivals, Jeremain Lens, saw a shot deflected over the bar for a corner.
Aside from a tasty tackle from Didier Ndong on Hawkins, the game appeared to be petering out to a deserved draw.
And then came that late, late intervention from LENS, who found the net with a superbly-executed dead-ball strike.
HARTLEPOOL UNITED 1
Pools: Loach, Magnay, Laing, Harrison, Adams, Newton (Donnelly 70, Richardson 79), Hawkins, Woods, Donaldson, Oates (Munns 21), Amond
Unused subs: Catterick, Travers, Risborough, Mondal
Goal: Donaldson 64
Sunderland: Stryjek, Jones (Love 60), Browning (O'Shea 60), Kone, Matthews (Djilibodji 70), Cattermole, Asoro (Lens 60), Gibson, Maja, Honeyman (Khazri 70), Vaughan (NDong 70)
Unused sub: Mika
Goals: Maja pen 37. Lens 90
Referee: Geoff Eltringham
Att: 4,728 (away 2,579)