Burton Albion found the Old Trafford test a step too far once again as they exited the Carabao Cup with a 4-1 defeat against Manchester United.
Eleven-and-a-half years after their maiden trip to the Theatre of Dreams - following that unforgettable FA Cup third-round draw at the Pirelli Stadium - Nigel Clough's Brewers found themselves pitted against the Premier League giants once again.
Once again, it was the scintillating quality of the hosts' attack that did for Burton - but Lloyd Dyer's late strike ensured the travelling Burton fans had something to deservedly chant about.
Clough had not mixed his words when saying Saturday's Championship trip to Queens Park Rangers is the primary focus for his side this week.
That was partially mirrored in his decision to make nine changes for the Old Trafford clash from the XI that defeated Fulham on Saturday - although it says much about the depth of the current Albion squad that the starting XI still looked a strong one.
Andy Garner also said in his pre-match interview that the side reflected the teams that had got Burton to this stage at the expense of Oldham Athletic and Cardiff City in the previous rounds.
It meant Connor Ripley continued his run between the sticks in the competition by replacing Stephen Bywater, while Tom Flanagan and Tom Naylor were like-for-like swaps for Jake Buxton and Kyle McFadzean as the 3-5-2 formation was utilised again.
Ben Turner was one of the two players retained from the starting XI that beat Fulham so impressively on Saturday.
Matty Lund started at right-wing-back as a reminder of his versatility, with Lloyd Dyer on the opposite flank.
In the centre, Hope Akpan sat deepest of the a midfield three that was completed by Jamie Allen and Matt Palmer.
Luke Varney took the captain's armband up front alongside Wolverhampton Wanderers loanee Joe Mason.
And it was the Brewers' onfield skipper who fashioned the game's first chance for himself, gaining possession in the United box and turning to shoot left-footed, Sergio Romero getting down easily to grasp the low effort.
If Burton fans had not fully appreciated the attacking quality their side would face against a United team boasting a forward line of Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard, Anthony Martial and lone frontman Marcus Rashford, they were quickly given a stark reminder.
It took only five minutes and one attack for Jose Mourinho's side to clinch the lead, Michael Carrick rolling a sharp pass into Lingard, with his back to goal and just inside the Albion box,
The former Derby County loanee needed only one touch to flick possession on and into the path of Rashford, who also required a single moment with the ball, a delicate clip over Ripley sending the home fans into early raptures.
Ripley would be a busy man in the first 45 - but his was not the only goal under some level of fire.
Moments after Naylor produced a timely block to deny Lingard at one end, the Brewers broke quickly.
The attack was started by Allen, who shifted play to Dyer and then received the ball back, before showing eye-catchingly quick feet to beat Herrera and free room to bend a shot goalwards. It flew just over.
Dyer was the brightest spark in the early stages for the visitors, his ability to stand Darmian up and then beat him on the outside getting Clough's men in behind, although a couple of chances were thwarted when his crosses from the left were cleared.
And every clearance gave United another chance to regain possession and hit Burton at pace.
When given space in the Albion half, they were rapier sharp - and another cut was made to the Brewers' hopes of a famous upset in the 17th minute.
It was dealt again by Rashford, who collected a pass from Mata on the edge of the box, turned and then rifled a low drive through the Brewers defence, past Ripley and into the net via the righthand post.
It was a post that denied Mata the Red Devils' third a few minutes later, the Spaniard nicking possession through Akpan's legs before dragging his effort against the woodwork, before an important block from Flanagan - impressive despite the pressure he was under in defence - to deny Martial's ambitious overhead kick.
While the tide was against Clough's men, they were handed a great chance to hit back just after the half-hour mark.
Varney hassled and harried his man well to win the ball upfield and square possession for Mason, who took a steadying touch eight yards out and then tried to lift a clever dink over the advancing Romero.
The United keeper was too close to him, though, and knocked the ball aside.
Moments later, it was 3-0, Lingard aiming for goal and seeing his shot sent spinning away from Ripley after a wicked deflection off Turner as he lunged to block.
Again, though, Albion would not lie down in the face of some ruthless United attacking play.
Allen curled another shot just off target, before Palmer's accurate cross found Lund at the back post - but he leaned back and lifted over the bar from the corner of the six-yard box.
A couple of tidy Ripley saves ensured there was no more damage before half-time at his end.
With one eye perhaps on Saturday's trip to Queens Park Rangers, Clough made two half-time substitutions, with Turner and Allen removed after a busy 10 days.
Warnock and Murphy, who may well start at Loftus Road, came on.
Murphy's midfield partner Palmer provided the first opening for Burton after the break, a tantalising curling free-kick finding the head of Akpan, whose mistimed effort flew wide.
With United comfortable, the Brewers were afforded a little more possession in their own half. They produced some slick passing moves of their own, but were unable to find the killer pass or cross to set Varney or Mason free.
More eye-catching work from Ripley denied Martial with United after the Frenchman danced between Flanagan and Naylor.
Martial was soon racing away to celebrate at the Stretford End after some sloppiness from Naylor, though.
The Albion defender had looked impressively composed despite the United onslaught.
But one poor touch saw him robbed of the ball deep in his own half, and Martial was clear to slide a finish past the advancing Ripley.
Chances were at a premium after the break for Burton.
Dyer saw less of the ball on the left, having been the biggest threat for half an hour, while Mason, after earning that gilt-edged chance before the break, had to come deeper and deeper for the ball.
Akpan did head another effort over after a well-aimed Lund cross, as Clough's men looked to give the travelling Albion faithful something to cheer.
United came closer to the next goal, though, Martial only just missing from the tightest of angles, good pressure by Flanagan ensuring he was unable to notch his second of the evening.
Albion refused to accept the scoreline even into the dying minutes, Mason finding Dyer on the lefthand side of the box. The winger's rising shot had too much on it, flying over substitute keeper Joel Pereira's crossbar.
And they finally got their reward in the 91st minute, Dyer picking his spot to drill home from close range after Mason's header came back off the crossbar.
It was a fully deserved mark for Burton to make against a squad that cost in excess of £300m to put together. The Brewers could have set up to stifle, but instead played their part in a thoroughly entertaining contest.
Again Old Trafford spelled the end of a cup journey - but they made an impression this time too.
Now the focus returns to the league. As Clough knows it should be.