Sunderland qualified for the next round of the Football League Trophy after defeating Carlisle 5-3 in a thrilling encounter at the Stadium of Light.
Chris Maguire bagged himself a brace, while Jack Diamond, Denver Hume and Charlie Wyke all got on the scoresheet.
The victory means that Sunderland’s next game in the competition against Fleetwood Town will decide who tops the group.
Sunderland began the match at a frantic pace, but it was the visitor’s who carved the first opportunity as Remi Matthews scythed down Ethan Walker in the box for a penalty.
Lewis Alessandra took the spotkick and duly converted to give the away side an early lead.
The home side were back on level terms in the 26th minute as Maguire saw his free kick deflect past the helpless Magnus Norman.
Sunderland took the lead in the 37th minute after Maguire teed up Hume for a neat finish from close range.
The half ended with Sunderland comfortably on top, and deserving of their lead.
Phil Parkinson’s side started the second half strongly and added a third goal in the 54th minute through Maguire as he got onto the end of a Wyke knockdown and slotted the ball past Norman.
15 minutes later, and it was 4-1, with Wyke tapping the ball into the open net after Norman spilled a tame Maguire effort.
The Black Cats could have been forgiven for thinking they had done enough to win the game, but the visitor’s had different ideas and made a valiant effort to get back in the match.
Local lad Jon Mellish made the score 4-2 as he outmuscled George Dobson from a corner and bumbled the ball past the shaky Matthews.
Melish made it 4-3 in the 82nd minute as he fired a stunning effort past the helpless Matthews.
The homeside did manage to hold onto their victory and added a fifth goal in added time as Diamond blasted home from inside the area.
Sunderland: Matthews, O’Nien, Wright, Taylor (Willis 85’), Diamond, Dobson, Power ©, Neil (O’Brien 75’), Hume, Maguire, Wyke (Graham 75’).
Subs not used: Burge, Gooch, Leadbitter, Younger.
Carlisle United: Norman, Tanner, Devine, Hunt, Hayden ©, Riley, Alessandra, Charters (Bell 54’), Armer, Malley (Guy 72’), Walker (Mellish 27’).
Subs not used: Dewhurst, Anderton, McDonald, Armstrong.