Our four-match unbeaten run came to an end on Saturday afternoon as we were beaten 3-1 by Aston Villa in the Under-18 Premier League.
It was Jack Wilshere's side that started the brighter at Villa's Bodymoor Heath training ground, Omari Benjamin and Osman Kamara combining well to almost give us the lead inside five minutes, but the latter failed to make clean contact with his strike.
The hosts grew into the game and we were forced to rely on resolute defensive interventions first from our captain Luis Brown and then Maldini Kacurri to keep the score level.
Villa's pressure on our backline eventually told as they took the lead through an Elian Quesada-Thorn own goal, our full-back inadvertently sending the ball over Alexei Rojas after he tried to head it back to our goalkeeper.
We found ourselves two goals down moments before the break, Kobei Moore heading home from close range after a chipped ball into the area evaded the reach of Rojas.
Wilshere made a double substitution at the interval which saw the introduction of 14-year-old forward Chido Obi, as we hoped to reestablish our early foothold in the match, but the changes failed to give us the instant impact we needed.
Villa increased their advantage to three shortly after the restart, Jack McDowell scoring the game's third header after the flight of an out-swinging free-kick was misjudged by Rojas and our defence.
We reduced the deficit a little over five minutes from time, Ismail Oulad M'Hand finding the top corner with a moment of magic from his free-kick 20 yards from goal, as we set about causing a late upset.
The hosts were reduced to 10 men deep into stoppage time, Charlie Lutz picking up a second yellow card for simulation in the box, as the hosts stood strong against our late pressure to secure all three points.
WHAT IT MEANS
We drop down one place to sixth in the Under-18 Premier League table after seven matches played.
We're in Premier League Cup group stage action next, when we travel to face Manchester United on Saturday, November 5.
Kick-off at the Aon Training Complex is at 11am (UK time).
Starting XI: Rojas, Small, Kacurri, Brown, Quesada Thorn, Oulad M’Hand, Dudziak, Roberts, Ferdinand, Kamara, Benjamin
Substitutes: Okonkwo, Akolbire, Green, Obi
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