Paddy McNair completed 90 minutes for Sunderland’s Under-23s to put himself in the frame for a first-team return.
The Northern Ireland international, who has been struggling with groin problems, played the full game as the second string went down 2-0 at Exeter City.
Jonny Williams also continued his comeback from a shoulder operation by getting more than an hour under his belt in a strong Sunderland side.
Jack Rodwell played the first 45 minutes at centre-half, while Lynden Gooch and Brendan Galloway completed the full game.
After a goalless first half in which Exeter were the better side after a good start by Sunderland, the deadlock was broken on 64 minutes.
A spell of possession and pressure from the home team ended when Ryan Loft rose highest to head past Max Stryjek in the visiting goal.
And the lead was doubled on 74 minutes when a corner saw Alex Byrne flick home with his head at the near post.
Sunderland pressed for a way back into the game but substitute Lee Connelly was denied by the home goalkeeper in a rare chance for the visitors.
Sunderland: Strjek, J Robson, Hume, Gamble, Rodwell (Taylor 46), Galloway, Gooch, Embleton, Shields (Connelly 57), McNair, Williams (Diamond). Subs: Patterson, Hackett