Pools were denied a share of the spoils in their latest pre-season friendly as Jeremain Lens scored a last-minute free-kick to hand Sunderland the win at Victoria Park.
The Black Cats had earlier gone in front through a debatable first half penalty before summer signing Ryan Donaldson drilled home a leveller for Pools after the break, only for Lens to have the final say.
It was an engaging opening to the game in front of a packed house at The Vic as both teams looked to get the ball down and play.
There was a good competitive edge to proceedings too with Lee Cattermole crunching in to a tackle to set the tone and Conor Newton replying in kind for Pools.
The first opportunity of the night came Pools’ way when Rhys Oates did well to win the ball back high up the pitch on the left. He fed Michael Woods who slipped it through to Lewis Hawkins who found room for a shot but it was deflected against the post by defender Lamine Kone before being scrambled clear.
Sunderland responded with a dangerous attack down the right which saw Joel Asoro wriggle in to space inside the area before cutting it back to George Honeyman but his shot was charged down.
The visitors were given a helping hand in taking the lead on 37 minutes. Referee Geoff Eltringham pointed to the penalty spot after a tussle between Louis Laing and Asoro which looked 50-50 at worst. Josh Maja confidently rammed home the penalty in to the top corner.
Sunderland could have extended their lead just before the break when Maja’s powerful free-kick was brilliantly pushed around the post by Pools keeper Scott Loach.
It was a slow start to the second period but Pools began to grow in to proceedings and Amond sent a warning shot to Sunderland when his well-directed header was pushed away by keeper Max Stryjek.
However, the Black Cats didn’t heed the warning and on 64 minutes it was all-square. Jack Munns turned nicely to feed the ball on to Ryan Donaldson who took a touch to steady himself and then drilled it beyond Stryjek.
Pools were feeling more confident now, and Woods summed that up when he lashed a long-ranged effort just a few yards over the bar.
It looked as though the game was drifting towards a draw until Scott Harrison dragged down Maja on the edge of the box and substitute Jeremain Lens stepped up to curl a terrific last-minute free-kick in to the top corner.
Kenton Richardson could have levelled again for Pools in stoppage time when a first shot was charged down on the edge of the area before his second effort flew just over.
Full Time: Pools 1 Sunderland 2
Pools: Loach, Magnay, Harrison, Laing, Adams, Newton (Donnelly 70 (Richardson 78)), Hawkins, Woods, Donaldson, Oates (Munns 21), Amond.
Subs not used: Catterick, Travers, Mondal, Risborough.
Sunderland: Stryjek, Jones (Love 59), Matthews (Djilobodji 70), Browning (O’Shea 59), Kone, Cattermole, Asoro (Lens 59), Gibson, Vaughan (Ndong 70), Maja, Honeyman (Khazri 70).
Subs not used: Domingues.
Attendance: 4,728 (2,579 Sunderland)