Sunderland U23s were beaten 3-0 by an impressive Manchester United side - despite holding a numerical advantage for most of the contest.
A dominant performance from the Red Devils' youngsters saw them claim victory at the Leigh Sports Village in a game where the visitors scarcely threatened.
The Black Cats named a young side, with Elliott Dickman handing a start to 16-year-old Dan Neil after he impressed in recent weeks. There were also places for Lee Connelly and Jack Diamond, who earned their first team debuts in the Checkatrade Trophy win over Carlisle.
Indeed, confidence was high among the youngsters after a morale-boosting win over Charlton Athletic in their last outing.
But it was the hosts who began brightly, and Sunderland found themselves a goal down after five minutes as Tahith Chong rifled home into the top corner after a backheel teed him up.
Despite continuing to press forward, United looked to have been handed a blow just before the half hour mark when George Tanner was sent-off following a foul on Connelly.
Jake Hackett was denied by a fine save from the resultant free-kick, but the Black Cats failed to make their advantage count.
And they found themselves two goals behind shortly after the break, with DJ Buffong's shot trickling past the unfortunate Max Johnstone.
Johnstone, playing against his former club, would have to pick the ball out the net once again minutes later when another fine finish from Chong made it three.
Connelly could have reduced the arrears but saw an effort hacked off the line late on as Sunderland suffered another disappointing defeat.