Sunderland under-23s lost 3-0 at the hands of Manchester United on Friday in the Premier League 2.
First-half goals from Largie Ramazani and Ethan Galbraith put the Red Devils in the driving seat at the interval.
The Black Cats raced out of the stalls in the second period, but missed a host of good opportunities to get back into the game.
Ramazani made the Lads pay for their missed chances in the 88th minute, when he grabbed his second and Utd’s third.
Elliot Dickman deployed a back five for the clash at Old Trafford, but was without trio Brandon Taylor, Mali Mumba and Benji Kimpioka, who could feature for the first team.
Manchester United started the brightest of the sides, and scored with their first meaningful attack in the 17th minute.
Ramazani raced in behind and beat the offside trap, before firing a deflected effort over the helpless Anthony Patterson.
Utd should have doubled their lead midway through the half, but Teden Mengi somehow fired over from inside the six-yard box.
Sunderland would have been on level terms in the 40th minute, if it wasn’t for Mengi’s breath-taking last-ditch tackle.
Williams Kokolo slipped Lee Connelly in behind after the striker beat the offside trap, but Mengi raced back to make the goal saving challenge.
And the Black Cats were made to pay for their missed opportunity on the stroke of half-time; Ethan Laird’s cross deflected into the patch of Galbraith, who swept into the bottom left corner from the edge of the area.
There was little to separate the sides after the break, with both teams missing guilt edged chances in front of goal.
First Connelly went inches from pulling one back; he brought the ball down before lobbing Lee Grant, but his effort dropped off the underside of the bar.
Then it was Man Utd’s turn to strike the woodwork; D’Mani Mellor worked the ball onto his left foot 12-yards from goal and cannoned his strike off the woodwork.
With two minutes of the 90 remaining, Utd grabbed their third and Ramazani bagged his brace.
The Belgian weaved his way into the area and fired low past Patterson, into the bottom right corner after Sunderland were caught on the counter attack.
Next up for the Lads is a home tie against Wigan Athletic in the Premier League Cup.
Manchester United: Grant; Laird, Mengi, Bernard, Devine; Levitt, Galbraith; Traore, Puigmal, Ramazani; Mellor
Substitutes: Kovar, Taylor, Helm. McCann, McGhee
Sunderland: Patterson, Gamble, Trialist, Edmundsson, Bainbridge, Collins, Connelly, Connolly, Dunne, Sammut, Kokolo
Subs: Kiernan, Abdelkader, Greenwood, Neil