Ipswich Town 2 Manchester United 0
Manchester United's new wave proved a wash-out as they once again carelessly threw away their Coca-Cola Cup interests, against Nationwide League strugglers Ipswich.
Alex Ferguson rates winning this competition lower than the reserves' Pontins League and has duly engineered early departures since the 1992 Wembley win.
But the United boss will be furious at a display which suggests Old Trafford's strength in depth is weakening.
Four years ago he put out a second string at Port Vale that provoked a storm of protest.
Today, David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt and Gary Neville, who all appeared at Vale Park, are full England internationals, the bedrock for club and country.
This time Ferguson unveiled John Curtis, Phil Mulryne, Ben Thornley and Eric Nevland, all players anxious to form the second wave off the youth production line.
But they were badly let down by some of the more senior players being given the chance to force their way into first team contention, while Beckham, Teddy Sheringham, Gary Neville and Butt were rested after England's Rome triumph, with Peter Schmeichel, Ryan Giggs and Henning Berg also sitting this one out.
The Football League say they will pull back from sanctions _ and rightly so, because these were some reserves! United had seven internationals starting, two more on the bench, and a team that cost £15million, as in came Jordi Cruyff, Andy Cole, Ronny Johnsen, David May, Karel Poborsky, Phil Neville and Brian McClair, plus goalkeeping understudy Raimond van der Gouw.
Left wing-back Thornley has played before for United, but central midfielder Mulryne, already a full Northern Ireland international and teenage defender Curtis were making their full debuts.
Disjointed United inevitably were, but lack of spirit is not a characteristic ever associated with a Ferguson team.
Yet they allowed Ipswich, a team third from bottom of division one, to wrest the initiative with first-half goals from Alex Mathie and Argentinian defender Mauricio Taricco.
Mathie, a 28-year-old Scot who was almost a year out of the game after needing operations on both shoulders last season, took all the responsibility on that repaired frame when first Bobby Petta and then Jason Dozzell showed skill and determination to forge the opening.
Referee Paul Alcock played a good advantage when the Dutchman's run from the left faltered, Dozzell taking over to weave past Johnsen and then flip the ball across as May and Curtis converged on him, leaving Mathie with an open goal.
Spurs reject Dozzell, on only a weekly contract at Ipswich, was hoping to use this match to attract a longer term employer and rightly earned the man-of-the-match award.
Mathie deserved his goal, after being denied a strong claim for a penalty when he sprawled between the combined attentions of May and Johnsen after just eight minutes.
The Kent official first seemed to point to the spot and then indicated a free-kick a yard outside the box.
Mathie might have scored again when he escaped Neville to get on the end of Tony Mowbray's long ball, but he did not realise how much time he had and lobbed tamely into the goalkeeper's arms.
Cole, two goals in six outings this season, was only a whisker away with a right-footer from 20 yards after McClair's pass flew off Tony Mowbray to him in the 37th minute, while Cruyff had an even better chance three minutes from the break, as Curtis pinged over a lovely cross from the right.
He had a clear header but steered the ball across goal instead of at it.
Mathie missed an equally good headed opening moments later from Kieron Dyer's cross after a great ball from Dozzell. But just as the referee prepared to blow for the break, Taricco burst forward on to Mathie's pass and with consummate South American skill chipped the ball with his less favoured right foot from outside the angle of the box, high over van der Gouw and into the far top corner.
United pushed hard to recover their pride if not the result, and in the 56th minute Richard Wright boldly stood up to a May header from a Thornley clearance, Jason Cundy hooking the danger clear.
McClair dipped a 30-yard shot that looked to be sailing in under Wright's crossbar but he just managed to tip it over.
The veteran Scot tried his luck again in the 64th minute but was this time a shade too high.
England youngster Paul Scholes replaced Thornley as he felt the effects of a foul from Stockwell, and then Nevland appeared for his debut in place of Mulryne in the 74th minute, Denis Irwin replacing Johnsen at the same time.
Just before that a bad back pass by Johnsen gave Mathie a scent of goal, but van der Gouw showed cool reflexes to touch the danger aside.
Simon Milton replaced Petta in the 75th minute, seconds before United thought they had got themselves back in the game.
May's close-range downward header from Scholes' header across came off Wright and fell perfectly to Cole, who knocked it home.
The referee originally signalled a goal, but his attention was quickly drawn to the linesman's signal for offside.