Northampton Town Under 18's began their pre-season tour of the Netherlands with a 3-1 defeat to Excelsior on Tuesday.
The young Cobblers took an early lead through Kai O’Keeffe’s penalty, but the hosts came from behind to secure victory with three goals before half-time.
Shane Goddard’s side made the perfect start, O’Keeffe opening the scoring from 12 yards in the first minute after Reece Irwin was brought down in the area.
But Excelsior equalised almost instantly when a deep cross was nodded in.
The hosts turned the game on its head just six minutes in, another header finding the bottom corner.
Their advantage was doubled on the quarter-of-an-hour mark when an attacker slotted home after being played in over the top of the Northampton defence.
The Cobblers youngsters battled in the second period as they sought a response, Rico Duggan driving just over the crossbar from 20 yards and Brad Smith-Howes having a shot saved shortly after the interval.
They had half-time substitute Marcus Bald to thank for keeping them in it with two good saves on the hour, diving to his right to deny a curling effort before stopping a forward one-on-one.
Despite an improved second half, the youth team were unable to mount a fightback as they opened their Dutch trip with a loss against a strong Excelsior team.
They take on De Graafschap in the second fixture of their tour on Saturday.
Cobblers: James Dadge, Brad Smith-Howes, Conor Thomas, Tom Cartwright, Ayo Lekuti, Jamari Hart, Dylan Hill, Kai O’Keeffe, Rico Duggan, Fin Amidi, Reece Irwin
Substitutes: Marcus Bald, Jacob Scott, Reuben Wyatt