Mansfield Town 3-0 Sunderland U23
Sunderland Under-23s suffered defeat in their Premier League Cup Group E opener on Monday night, going down to three first-half goals from Mansfield Town.
Nathan Caine, Jason Law and Tyrese Sinclair's strikes ensured a disappointing night at the One Call Stadium, with the second half seeing chances to claw it back just evade the young Lads.
Ollie Younger, Ellis Taylor and Ethan Kachosa were among those to start in Nottinghamshire for Elliott Dickman's side, facing a Mansfield team sprinkled with senior players.
After Tyrese Dyce hit the crossbar with a close-range header early on and Jack McIntyre kept Mansfield at bay on two occasions, the Stags took the lead 18 minutes in when Caine diverted home from point-blank range following a corner from the right flank.
Law struck a second on the volley seven minutes later as the Lads struggled to clear a set-piece, before Sinclair timed his run to receive a ball from the right, round McIntyre and make it three.
Will Harris came close twice before the break with an angled shot arrowing wide, before hitting the frame of the goal on a second Sunderland occasion, goalkeeper George Shelvey deflecting a strike onto the post.
The second half saw an improvement from the Lads and more chances created, notably through the creativity of Stephen Wearne, who entered the fray for the second 45 following his dislocated shoulder injury. He picked out Taylor who was denied by the legs of Shelvey in a 1v1, with Harris and Benji Kimpioka both firing inches off target as a consolation appeared to come closer.
At the other end, Sinclair struck off target twice as the Stags looked to add to their tally on the break, and late sub Jack Deakin was denied a 1v1 with McIntyre by Younger's timely intervention.
The match remained at a three-goal buffer until the final whistle - Sunderland's next PL Cup group fixture comes next month against Leeds United at Eppleton - and the youngsters now look to Friday's Premier League 2 trip to Birmingham City to make amends.
After the defeat, Dickman said: "That wasn't us tonight. We're disappointed, and fair play to Mansfield who came out with more energy than we did.
"There were parts in the game where we did okay - but that was just okay. I am however delighted to have Stephen Wearne back - we initially thought it could've been more long-term for him, but it's good to see him get 45 minutes and do well when he came on.
"We have to look to Friday now and put things right. We're creating chances but conceding goals at the same time, and it's what we need to improve upon."
SUNDERLAND AFC: McIntyre; Richardson, Younger, Jessup (Scott 46'), Dyce (Newall 67'); Wilding (c) (Wearne 46'), Sohna; Kachosa, Kimpioka, Taylor; Harris.
Subs not used: Carney, Almond.