Crystal Palace Under-18s suffered a 4-2 loss at Selhurst Park tonight against Bolton Wanderers, knocking them out of FA Youth Cup.
Coach and former first-team defender Paddy McCarthy reflected on the match, suggesting that what lost it for his side was an imbalance in experience.
He explained, "[Bolton had a] Little bit more experience, they had a lot of second-years. We were Under-17s, we had Under-16s on the pitch as well. I think they were a little bit more experienced but I didn't think there was an awful lot in it. We had more match winners on the pitch. I was pleased in terms of how the boys reacted to the occasion as well. Individually, I'm sure they'll have massive gains from tonight."
With almost 1,000 fans cheering the Academy side on, one benefit of the game will have been that the team will have enjoyed an opportunity to play in front of a sizeable crowd for the first time in their careers.
Looking back on what his side would have gained from tonight and expressing his pride in the squad, McCarthy said, "It's probably the first time a lot of them have been exposed to nights like tonight, a bit of a crowd, a bit of an atmosphere, a lot of high pressure on the game. I thought they stood up to that well, there was a lot of creativity, they were brave in possession, they created opportunities, they worked their socks off out of possession.
"They stuck to the task but unfortunately, a couple of errors let us down, which is part and parcel of development. I'm sure the boys will learn from it, we'll get back on the training pitch and try to get better."
To watch the full interview with McCarthy, head over to Palace TV now. Or, if you're reading in the app, just click 'Palace TV'.