Milton Keynes Dons Under-18s endured a tough day at the office as they lost 4-1 against Stevenage Borough in the Youth Alliance League at Woughton-on-the-Green on Saturday morning.
The Dons got a goal back through forward Brandon Thomas-Asante just after the half-hour mark however a further Stevenage strike just before the break ultimately put the game out of reach.
The hosts started the match on the front foot and attacking midfielder Connor Furlong had a shot inside the box which the Stevenage keeper parried away in the seventh minute.
The side from Hertfordshire took the lead on 17 minutes when a ball in behind the Dons defence was hit by the visitors number seven into the top right hand corner.
Stevenage doubled their lead three minutes later after a bout of head tennis on the edge of the Dons box. An initial header from the right of the area found the visiting number eight who powerfully headed the ball into the top left corner.
Seven minutes later the Boro extended their lead after a low cross from the left hand side found their number nine to the left of the penalty spot. He then hit a low left footed shot into the corner of the goal to make it 3-0.
A minute later Dons keeper Andrew McCorkell was forced into a good save from a one-on-one situation to prevent the visitors extending their lead.
The Dons gave themselves hope of getting back into the contest on 32 minutes when they scored from a corner. The ball was whipped in from the right and evaded everyone before Thomas-Asante came in at the back post and impressively volleyed low into the bottom left hand corner to reduce the arrears to 3-1.
However, it was Stevenage who had the last word in the first half as they restored their three goal lead just before the break. A ball across from the right found their number four who had an easy tap-in from just a couple of yards out.
The second half saw the Dons dominate the balance of play however in difficult conditions and a game that was often stop-start they struggled to foster many chances.
Their best came midway through the second half when a corner from the left found its way through to the captain Adam Hunt whose goalbound header from the penalty spot was cleared by a Stevenage player.
A contest in tricky conditions in which the Dons struggled to create shooting opportunities and were ultimately outplayed.
After the match, Dons' Director of Youth Mike Dove said: "I thought we were in control for the first 15 minutes. We did everything but score. We need to be more ruthless and have more desire to score goals.
"We had a spell where they got three goals in ten minutes. We didn't match their desire. That was where our problems came.
"I said at half-time we needed to match them for work rate. We needed to create and take chances. Although we had most of the possession in the second half we didn't create many problems.
"I thought Stevenage defended well and worked hard. They deserved to win because they had extra energy. It is frustrating."
MK Dons (4-2-1-3): McCorkell: Kioso, Omar, Jackson (Steele half-time), Stratton (Osei-Bonsu 57): Hunt (capt), Hadden: Furlong: Brittain, Owusu (Nombe 57), Thomas-Asante.
Subs not used: Pickworth, Kasumu.
Booked: Steele 81.
Goal: Thomas-Asante 31.
Referee: Damian Mirzadem