Coach Shane Goddard was disappointed after Northampton Town Under 18s lost 1-0 at home to Sutton United in the EFL Youth Alliance League South East on Saturday morning.
It was a match of few clear opportunities, but Sutton were largely on top.
Speaking after the match, Goddard said: “We weren’t good enough, and standards were poor across the pitch.
“It’s frustrating because we worked on it and Sutton played the way we thought they would.
“We had some good passages of play in the first half and early parts of the second half, but we just didn’t progress the ball into the final third well enough.
“When we got in there, we lacked the quality that was needed to get the win.
“We didn’t defend our box well enough, and we made really poor decisions at key times and in key moments of the game.
“That will be a difficult one for the boys to swallow because I think they’ll look back and know that we were nowhere near our standards.”
The youth team host Stevenage in a fortnight.