Kevin Ball took to the dugout for the first time as Sunderland Developement Team boss, but his team of youngsters were beaten 4-3 by Whitby Town.
Kevin Ball's first game as manager of the Development Squad, or Reserve Team as they used to be known, ended in defeat at The Turnbull as the host side, Whitby Town, defeated a young Sunderland side 4-3.
It was barely a developmental side given the players who are currently injured or on an an extend break following summer exploits for their various national teams, forcing many of the players Ball will have at his disposal for the forthcoming season into action in Korea.
The home side, managed by former Sunderland stalwart Darren Williams enjoyed the better of proceedings physically, which was to be expected given that many of them were considerably older than the Sunderland side, which was made up almost entirely of youth team players - only recent signing Wade Joyce is likely to be in the developmental squad next season.
Whitby broke the deadlock on 20 minutes from the penalty spot after central defender Lewis Gibbons downed former Carlisle United winger Jeff Smith in the area, smashed past keeper Johnny Maddison by Nathan Mulligan.
Five minutes before the break Bally's young guns were level through their own spot-kick. Nathan Thomas was downed in the area, and he himself dusted himself down (as is customary) to slot the ball past Nick Liversedge to make it 1-1.
With things looking good for Sunderland, who were passing the ball around well and moving it at will which will no doubt have delighted Bally, with two minutes to the half time whistle, disaster struck, and some players showed their inexperience.
Liam Burn and Johnny Maddison got themelves in a bit of bother when a lack of communication saw Burn head the ball past an on-rushing Maddison, allowing Whitby striker Mulligan to grab his, and his teams second goal.
Sunderland drew level on 59 minutes when Nathan Thomas curled in a superb finish with the outside of his left foot after sloppy play from Whitby's Ibraham Hassan, but once again, it didn't last long as Whitby restored their advantage just eight minutes later when Nathan Mulligan grabbed a superb hattrick goal - netting beyond a hapless Maddison from 25-yards with a sublime freekick.
Tired legs from the young Sunderland side began to show, and with due reason as many of them had played 24-hours earlier against a strong Hamilton Academical side at the Academy Of Light, in which they lost 3-1 to the Scottish side.
The tiredness was prominent as Whitby grabbed a fourth goal to make any hopes of a comeback unlikely. David Tiernan the goalscorer as he rose to meet a long, lofted freekick.
Liam Burn did pull a goal back with little over 15 minutes left to play, but by then the game was out of grasp for Sunderland. Jordan Laidler nearly snatched an unlikely leveler but substitute Ben Escritt was able to tip over the bar, and despite a valiant effort, the final score ended with a victory for Darren Williams' side, 4-3.
Post-match Kevin Ball was full of praise for his young side, telling the clubs official website after the game;
We scored good goals ourselves and it was a good workout. For us, a young side, sometimes it looked like the proverbial "men against boys", but it's all good experience. This team are still young and must learn to run with the big boys. Overall I'm delighted.
Bally's side get two days rest before they travel to Newton Aycliffe in their second preseason friendly of the summer.