Burton Albion's under-18s were undone by two superb second-half goals as their FA Youth Cup journey was ended by Sheffield United on Tuesday night.
Jordan Doherty fired one long-range effort past Callum Hawkins and then scored an improvised second to make sure of the result at Bramall Lane, despite an impressive first-half display by the young Brewers.
First-team manager Nigel Clough manager was in the stands and watched on as James Harrison came close to giving Burton an early lead when he fired over from a good position.
Harrison was involved again later when he controlled Reece Hutchinson's back-post cross - but the Brewers forward could only find the side-netting with his effort.
Albion could not make that dominance count, though, and Doherty ultimately decided the contest after the break to send the Blades through to the next round to face Birmingham City.
Still, it was yet another priceless experience for the Brewers stars of the future - and coach Sam Rose knows how close his team really were in the contest.
"Overall, we are relatively pleased with how the lads have conducted themselves and the performance in general," he said.
"The result is really disappointing - they've scored from two half-chances, two shots that have nestled in the corner.
"The lads, particularly in the first half, were solid and I think we had Sheffield United rattled at points and had a couple of really good chances to score.
"There was not a lot in it really, so we can be pleased with that.
"We're proud of this group and they can hold their heads high as they really stood up to the challenge for the most part tonight.
"It was a superb experience for the players, you cannot say enough about how important games like these are for the lads for their development.
"The first-team manager and head of recruitment, Nigel and Simon Clough, were at the game which is a tremendous opportunity for the players and shows that the academy have that support from a club point-of-view."