A hat-trick from Ched Evans saw City's reserves grab a 3-1 win away at Sunderland on Wednesday night.
The Welsh striker, prolific for both the reserves and the Pontin's League side last season, opened the scoring after 12 minutes when he latched onto a Kelvin Etuhu cross and fired home with a slight deflection. The lead was doubled on 23 minutes when Ashley Grimes fed Evans, who produced a clinical inside the area.
The hosts, bolstered by the inclusion of the experienced Ian Harte and Graham Kavanagh, reduced the arrears on 58 when Billy Dennehy hit a rasping drive home from a short free kick.
However the Blues extended the lead shortly afterwards when Evans left his marker for dead and slotted home past Sunderland's keeper.
Reserve team boss Kenny Jackett, who will temporarily hand over the reins to Ian Miller while he helps out with the senior side in the enforced absence of Hans Backe, told mcfc.co.uk: "It was a very good match, there was a lot of quality play from two very evenly matched young sides.
"Ched took his chances superbly, but I was delighted that Kelvin was back for his first start after his knee ligament injury. It was a huge step in the right direction for him, he looked strong and quick and only came off after an hour because of cramp. All in all, it was an excellent night for us."
Team: Martin, Vidal, Breen, McDonald, Williamson, Etuhu (Daly 60), Clayton, Laird, Moore, Grimes (Marshall 80), Evans (Ball 83).
Subs: Mentel, Mee, Weiss.
Sunderland: Carson, Weir, Donoghue (Pelter 67),Hartley, Harte, Henderson, Kavanagh (Colback 64), Chandler, Dennehy, Dowson, Waghorn.