Sunderland remain rooted to the bottom of the Championship table following a 1-0 defeat away at Middlesbrough in Sunday's Tees-Wear derby.
Sunderland have succumbed to a 1-0 defeat away at Middlesbrough on Sunday to remain rooted to the bottom of the Championship table.
The Black Cats, with Billy McKinlay and Robbie Stockdale in caretaker charge, could have been ahead inside the opening three minutes.
Darren Randolph fumbled a long-range effort from Didier Ndong into the path of Lewis Grabban, but the 29-year-old's effort was straight at the Boro goalkeeper.
Sunderland would come to rue that miss as Marcus Tavernier opened the scoring for the hosts after just six minutes.
The 18-year-old sneaked in front of the Black Cats defence to meet a Marcus Braithwaite cross and slot the ball beyond Robbin Ruiter.
The visitors initially responded well as Randolph was forced to tip behind an effort from Lee Cattermole and got his hands to a Billy Jones header, though the 30-year-old was offside.
However, the action became scrappy by the end of the first half and Boro improved after the interval.
Shortly after the restart, Britt Assombalonga did well to tee up Braithwaite in the area, but Ruiter produced a smart save to keep out the striker's effort.
Ruiter also saved Stewart Downing's free kick in the closing stages, but Boro were able to hang on to their lead until the final whistle and edge up to fifth in the table.
In addition to the defeat, Sunderland also saw Jones and Ndong substituted in the game due to knocks and will be sweating over their fitness.
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