Goals from Chris Maguire, Will Grigg and Josh Scowen were enough to hand the Black Cats victory in what was their first outing since March.
But who caught the eye during the clash at the International Stadium, and who has work to do before September 12?
Scroll down and click through the pages to see Phil Smith's merit marks:
1. Lee Burne
Could do little about Gateshead’s first goal and produced a stunning save shortly before then, flying to his right to prevent a certain goal. Made a similarly smart stop in the dying minutes too. 7
Photo: FRANK REID 2020
2. Bailey Wright
Looked at ease during his first appearance since suffering that injury at Oxford. Rarely troubled and kept it simple in possession. 6
Photo: Frank Reid
3. Tom Flanagan
Almost got his side moving with a wonderful pass to send Hume clear down the left flank. Caught out once or twice and a moment of indecision with Dobson allowed Gateshead to break and equalise in the first half. 5
Photo: JPI Media
4. Conor McLaughlin
At ease on the right of the back three, and made some good breaks into the final third during the opening stages. 6
Photo: FRANK REID