A missed opportunity for Dons in Papa John's Trophy
Losing 3-0 at home was a disappointing way of bowing out of the Papa John's Trophy - a competition Russell Martin had targetted winning this season.
Trailing to a Dean Lewington own goal at the break, Dons had some decent sights of goal in the second half before Aidan McGeady and Charlie Wyke put the game beyond Dons' reach, securing their spot in the semi-finals, moving a win from Wembley.
And Martin did not shy away from expressing his disappointment at going out of the competition at the quarter-final stage.
"It's a missed opportunity so it's always disappointing," he said. "I'd have loved to have gone through, we've treated the competition seriously all the way through. It would have been lovely as a club to go through. I'd have loved to still be in it but all our focus now is on the league and moving up as quickly as possible."
Martin felt frustrated with Sunderland's first two goals despite an element of luck involved in each. The first came on 12 minutes when Jack Diamond's cross was diverted into his own net by Lewington, but Martin said he could see it coming after a mistake in the build-up, while McGeady's strike with 15 minutes to go came from a misplaced Lasse Sorensen header, a deflection off Warren O'Hora and a moment Lee Nicholls will not want to see back as he didn't get enough behind it as it went in.
Making changes at 2-0 to bring on youngsters to see out the game, Wyke's header to make it 3-0 Martin was however willing to overlook, given the difference in experience on the field come the end, but he felt until the second goal, his side looked more than capable of getting back into it.
He said: "Let's take away the last 10 minutes when we have a lot of young players on the pitch, it will make you look at the game completely differently.
"We've had six shots, they've had six shots. We've had three on target, they have three on target. They've taken the lead without even having a shot on target. For 60-odd minutes, I was pleased by the performance.
"We responded well to the goal, Lewis Johnson had a big chance in the box which we didn't take, and then bringing on Cameron Jerome and Ben Gladwin I thought would bring us right into the game. It felt like we were on top, they were rarely close to our goal at that point. But we gave away the second goal, and I cannot defend that. It's crazy.
"At 2-0, it was really difficult. The game was gone. We made subs to rest people for Saturday and after that we looked a bit of a mess. so I'm not heavily influenced by the last 15 minutes.
"I'm pleased with some of the performances, not with some of the others."