Horncastle Town may have been beaten at Grimsby Borough Reserves on Saturday, but Mickey Stones believes the club still has a bright future.
The number of youngsters involved - and holding their own - in the matchday squad at the weekend was the positive the Wongers boss is taking from the game.
Luke Fanthorpe, Jack Steel and Jack Wilson won it for the hosts, but 16-year-old debutant George Leverton needed less than 10 minutes to open his goalscoring account for the Wongers’ first team.
“We started him at left back and in the first 10 minutes he was in their box three times,” Stones said, impressed by the youth team product.
“The fourth time he scored, finishing well into the top corner.
“He’s a modern full back and he likes to get forward.
“He could probably play further up as well, but he did a fantastic job at full back.
“He got a knock in the first half and we took him off after about an hour, but otherwise he would have been out there for the whole game.”
With a number of players opting to support Lincoln City in their FA Cup clash at Arsenal, Town found themselves fielding a mixture of youth and experience.
“We had four 16-year-olds, two 17-year-olds and two 18-year-olds in the squad,” Stones added.
“Everyone else was in their 30s. We didn’t have any players in their 20s at all.
“We had a lot of young players who did a job for us, and that’s the positive I’m taking from the game.
“We planned to defend and put one up top, playing 4-5-1.
“But we scored early and that didn’t help us, we perhaps didn’t think we needed to defend after that and got caught out.
“Too many poor tackles and we didn’t defend properly.”
The Wongers are without a game this weekend, returning to action in their Challenge Cup semi-final against Skegness Town on March 25.