Sunderland Under-21s kicked-off their Checkatrade Torphy campaign with a 3-1 defeat to League One Scunthorpe United.
A crowd of just 1,127 watched the action unfold at Glanford Park, with a smattering of Sunderland fans making the trip for the opening group game.
Sunderland fell behind early on to a Kevin van Ween header before the Iron doubled their lead in first half added-on time to Duane Holmes.
The Black Cats halved the deficit midway through the second half thanks to a stunning strike from Rees Greenwood but they couldn't find an equaliser, with Scunthorpe missing a raft of
chances to extend their lead before Josh Morris added a third late on.
Scunthorpe United unbeaten in League One after four games, made nine changes for the opening Checkatrade Trophy group game.
Sunderland named Jack Rodwell, Lynden Gooch, Adam Matthews and Donald Love in the starting line-up for the game at Glanford Park.
First team coach Robbie Stockdale took charge of the Sunderland side, with Under-23 boss Elliott Dickman assisting him.
It was a nightmare start for Sunderland's young charges, with the hosts taking the lead after just three minutes.
Hakeeb Adelakun's long-range effort was palmed upwards by James Talbot but Kevin van Veen was was on hand to head home virtually on the line.
Gooch's attempts to force a quick equaliser were thwarted by Rory Watson's low block, with Talbot called into again to make a stop with his legs to deny the dangerous Adelakun.
Gooch was by far Sunderland's biggest attacking threat and he again forced Watson into a low stop 12 minutes in, a comfortable save for the Iron stopper.
There was a lengthy stoppage 17 minutes in following a clash of heads between Ethan Robson and Devonte Redmond on the half-way line.
After a lengthy stoppage Robson was eventually subbed with Owen Gamble on in his place 25 minutes in.
Scunthorpe enjoyed the better of the first half, Charlie Goode seeing an effort blocked and deflected wide by Matthews.
Van Veen continued to be a constant thorn in the side of the Sunderland defence, his effort deflected just wide of the right-hand post ten minutes before the break.
Up the other end, Greenwood weaved past two Iron defenders before seeing his effort blocked by Watson as Sunderland attempted to fight their way back into the game.
Talbot ended the half strongly, producing a brilliant block to deny Jordan Clarke's volley at the back post.
The Dublin-born stopper could do little about Scunthorpe's second four minutes into added-on time, Duane Holmes controlled well before firing low into the corner from 10-yards.
Scunthorpe started the second half where they left off the first, with Van Veen almost adding a third.
The Iron striker latched onto defensive uncertainty from Sunderland, rounded Talbot but hit the crossbar with the goal unguarded.
Sunderland's midfield was non-existent as Adelakun waltzed through before blazing over, Beadling barking at his Sunderland teammates for more cover.
The groundsman had to dash into action in the 58th minute when the sprinklers came on in the Scunthorpe half, the game briefly interrupted at Glanford Park.
Gooch forced Watson into a save minutes later, his shot appeared to be going wide anyway.
From nowhere, Sunderland cut the deficit thanks to a sweetly-struck shot via the left boot of Rees Greenwood in the 65th minute, the ball sailing over Watson to make it 2-1.
Scunthorpe reacted strongly, with Beadling twice having to make timely interceptions to prevent the Iron attack from extending their lead.
Gamble had to have his wits about him to head clear a goal-bound effort on the line in the 77th minute.
Tom Hopper headed over when it seemed easier to score from eight-yards as Scunthorpe continued to pile on the pressure late on, sub Morris adding a third from close range in the 89th minute.
Full-time: Scunthorpe United 3 Sunderland Under-21s 1
Scunthorpe United: Watson, Clarke, Mantom, van Veen, Hopper (Madden, 83), Adelakun (Morris, 83), Redmond, Holmes, Goode, Burgess (C), Butroid.
Subs Not Used: Gilks, Townsend, Wallace, Ojo, Sutton.
Booked: Adelakun (81),
Goals: Van Veen (3), Holmes (45+4), Morris (89th)
Sunderland: Talbot, Love, Matthews, Beadling (C), Hume, Molyneux, Bale (Diamond, 81), Rodwell, E. Robson (Gamble, 25), Greenwood, Gooch
Subs Not Used: Woud, Storey, Wright, Taylor, Allan.
Booked: Love (62)
Goals: Greenwood (65)
Referee: Darren Drysdale