Northampton Town's youth team began 2020 with a trip to Luton Town in the EFL Youth Alliance on Saturday.
The Cobblers were beaten 4-3 in an entertaining game, with the winner for the Hatters coming in the final minute.
The goals for Jon Brady's side came from Haydn Price (penalty), Tom Scott and Caleb Chukwuemeka, and while the Cobblers youngsters played well in spells, Brady said they were taught a harsh lesson.
"We played well in patches but we can't defend like we did and expect to win matches," he said.
"Some of our attacking play, at times, was good, but we were not good enough defensively today and that is the lesson the boys will learn from this game."