Northampton Town Under 18s lost 1-0 away to the Raunds Town first team in a pre-season friendly on Tuesday night.
The young Cobblers were narrowly defeated by their Spartan South Midlands Football League Division One opponents.
Included in the squad was Stevie Bausor, who made his first appearance for the youth team after signing on a short-term loan from Leicester City as cover for the injured Marcus Bald.
The ‘keeper was called into action on the quarter-of-an-hour mark, diving forwards and comfortably holding the game’s first shot.
The opening 45 minutes were scrappy and physical, the Cobblers creating the first clear chance after the half-hour when Will Ronald’s dangerous ball across goal was cleared by a defender with Neo Dobson ready to turn home behind him.
Raunds broke the deadlock late in the first half when a wide free-kick was met by a powerful header which found the back of the net.
The Cobblers responded early in the second half and forged a flurry of opportunities, the best falling to Charlie Carroll whose skilful volley from Josh Rayfield’s floated cross was pushed away by the diving ‘keeper.
They almost scored an equaliser again before the hour as James Owen played the ball out to Ronald, but Carroll was unable to finish from his low, driven cross.
The visitors had controlled the game since the start of the second half, but Raunds came inches from doubling their lead soon after when a set-piece was cleared to the edge of the area from where a first-time strike aiming for the top corner flew narrowly wide.
The Cobblers failed to capitalise on a third ball that flashed across the face of goal moments later, this time Jamari Hart curling into the box from out wide with a number of white and claret shirts stretching in the middle.
Their final attempt was Leo Jenkins’ free header from Bausor’s halfway line free-kick which bounced wide of the far post late on.
Despite being on top in the second period, the youth team were unable to draw level.
Shane Goddard’s side travel to Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday. Their opponents finished 11th out of 13 in the Under-18 Premier League North Group last season.
Cobblers: Stevie Bausor, Will Ronald, Leo Jenkins, Kiantay Licorish-Mullings, Jamari Hart, James Owen, Josh Rayfield, Harry Guess, Tom Cartwright, Charlie Carroll, Neo Dobson
Substitutes: Trialist, Jozef Baxter, Aaron Cashmore, George Daldy, George Steers, Francesco Obiagwu