Just three Sunderland fans made the 154-mile journey down the east coast to watch their Under-21s in the Checkatrade Trophy, according to hosts Grimsby Town.
Sunderland, who were relegated from the Premier League last season, are bottom of the Championship and managerless, after sacking Simon Grayson on 31 October after 18 games in charge.
Grimsby fans also stayed away from the game at Blundell Park, with the League Two side tweeting that their attendance was 248, way down on a typical crowd of more than 4,000.
There was nothing riding on the Northern Section Group H game as neither team could qualify for the knockout stages.
Although Grimsby tweeted that there were only three away supporters, the Sunderland Echo more than doubled that figure and reported that seven fans made the trip.
Former England midfielder Jack Rodwell and FA Cup winner Callum McManaman were in the Sunderland team who won 7-6 on penalties, with Sean McAllister missing the decisive spot-kick for the Mariners.
The Group H game had finished 1-1 after 90 minutes, with JJ Hooper putting Grimsby ahead from the penalty spot, before Donald Love equalised a minute later.
Elsewhere, Bury beat Stoke 3-1, Fleetwood were 2-1 winners against Carlisle United and Swindon Town won 4-2 at Bristol Rovers.