Huddersfield Town Under 18s suffered a 4-0 defeat by Charlton Athletic at PPG Canalside.
But lead professional development coach Tony Carss said a young side will benefit from the experience of tough games like this one.
Town were hoping to build on an amazing comeback win at Bolton Wanderers, where they overcame a three-goal deficit.
But reigning Professional Development League II champions Charlton knew they had the chance to go top of the Southern section.
And they duly took it with the help of a hat trick by Ademola Lookman.
Town, 10th in the Northern section, were beaten 5-0 at home to Charlton last season, and after a bright start this time, were gradually worn down.
The visitors, who had put nine without reply past QPR in their previous game, took the lead in the 18th minute.
A cleverly-worked move ended with a swinging shot into the bottom corner.
Charlton doubled their lead six minutes later with a header from a cross.
The Londoners struck again four minutes into the second half when Town failed to deal with a centre.
Then a mazy dribble and cool finish made it four after 68 minutes.
“We’re disappointed with the scoreline, but there were some good things, especially with the ball,” said Carss.
“We’re a young team, so there are players getting opportunities really early in their development, which is good for them long-term.
“They have a lot to learn, and we’re trying to do that very quickly.
“In possession, there were some good things, without that real bit of quality in and around the box.
“Of course we are disappointed with the goals and it’s never down to just one moment.
“Normally there are three or four things that can happen prior to the ball ending up in the back of the net.
“Defensively, players will make individual errors, but we’re working on that all the time.”
Charlton didn’t have it all their own way, and there was a spell where Town could easily have got back into the game.
“The mentality of our players was the most pleasing thing,” added Carss.
“We have an identity and a philosophy of how we want to play. The difficulty in some games is to keep that focus and belief when it’s not going well.”
Town visit Brentford on Saturday.