Northampton Town's youth team travelled to Portsmouth on Saturday for their latest EFL Youth Alliance Merit Division 1 fixture.
Morgan Roberts from the penalty spot and Caleb Chukwuemeka scored in a 4-2 defeat for the Cobblers but coach Jon Brady felt his young side were more than competitive and could have come away with a draw.
"It was a really positive performance," he said.
"We had two players from the club's Football and Education programme and we also had an under 15 player, Courtney Lashley, start the game which I don't think we've had before in an under 18s game. That is real testament to Courtney and I thought he did very well.
"It's good to blood these players early, the boys were very competitive and it certainly bodes well for the future."