Josh Maja celebrates the first Sunderland goal with Rees Greenwood
The group stages of the Checkatrade Trophy came to a conclusion on Wednesday night in front of more empty stadiums.
Fans continued an apparent boycott of the revamped competition the night after record low attendances were broken at Northampton and Portsmouth 24 hours earlier.
The Cobblers had their lowest-ever competitive attendance, while Pompey’s was their worst post-war crowd.
And fans continued to stay away on Wednesday night.
Morecambe’s win over Bradford City was watched by 827 fans, while just 739 watched Yeovil defeat Reading’s Under-23s at the Madjeski Stadium.
Jaap Stam watches on as Reading’s U23s face Yeovil
Just 380 were at Hartlepool to see their game against Rochdale, with 30 members of the crowd travelling from Greater Manchester.
The night’s one positive story came from that game, as Dale named terminally ill five-year-old fan Joshua McCormack on their bench, although he was unable to attend the game.
Rochdale celebrated with McCormack’s shirt after going 1-0 up early on in the game.
Despite the low crowds, the EFL Trophy did present a certain level of entertainment, with an average of 4.35 goals across the right games on Wednesday evening.
It follows eight penalty shootouts – some completely pointless as both teams had already been eliminated – the previous night.
The teams who qualified for the next stage will find out their opponents for the next round on Thursday morning.
In total, eight of the 16 Under-23 academy teams in the competition made the next stage, with the likes of Chelsea, West Ham and Everton bowing out.
Wednesday’s results in full
- Hartlepool 1-2 Rochdale
- Reading U23 0-2 Yeovil
- Sunderland U23 2-1 Notts County
- Carlisle 4-2 Fleetwood
- Grimsby 2-4 Sheffield United
- Morecambe 3-2 Bradford
- Southampton U23 4-0 Crawley
- Wycombe 2-4 Coventry
Teams qualified from group stages
AFC Wimbledon, Blackpool, Bradford, Brighton, Cambridge, Carlisle, Cheltenham, Chesterfield, Coventry, Crawley, Doncaster, Luton, Mansfield, Millwall, MK Dons, Morecambe, Oldham, Oxford, Rochdale, Scunthorpe, Southend, Swindon, Walsall, Wycombe, Yeovil, Leicester U23, Norwich U23, Reading U23, Southampton U23, Sunderland U23, Swansea U23, Wolves U23