Steve Kinniburgh believes the youngsters in Corby Town’s squad endured a “massive learning curve” after they suffered a 5-2 defeat at Lincoln United.
Goals from Jamie Anton and Jordon Crawford proved to be in vain for the Steelmen as they shipped five goals and dropped to 11th place in the Evo-Stik League South.
Corby handed a debut to young goalkeeper Dan Smith with Sam Wilson ruled out through injury while teenagers Dean McBride and Peter Dearle made up the central defensive partnership.
And caretaker-manager Kinniburgh admitted the goals that Lincoln scored from set-pieces was the key factor on the day.
“Believe it or not, it was a lot better than last Saturday (the 2-0 home defeat to Gresley FC), he said.
“They have scored three goals from set-pieces and they have scored one where they gone 80 yards over the top and gone one-on-one with the goalkeeper, which is totally unacceptable.
“When you talk about a bit of desire in your box to stop the set-piece from coming in, that’s what we are lacking.
“We had an 18-year-old goalkeeper, an 18-year-old centre-back and a 19-year-old centre-back in there and when you are looking at a backline as young as that, it’s a massive learning curve for them.
“At the minute we are rebuilding the football club and we are going to have to rely on some of these boys at times and they have got to be able to step up.
“The only way to learn is to be in there and doing it and it was a real test for them to go up against a very experienced side.
“It was the first game for Dan and he made two or three cracking saves.
“The disappointing thing for me was the desire to defend the box because overall it was better than last week.”
The Steelmen didn’t add any new faces ahead of the last Thursday’s registration deadline and Kinnibugh insists he is happy to “hang his hat” on the club’s youngsters in the remainder of the campaign.
“We have got a young squad which is developing and going forward,” he added.
“You could throw a lot at it and bring players in but are they the players for next season?
“It looks more likely that we are going to be at this level again and we are now looking at building a squad that will be good enough to get promoted. That’s where the thinking is at the moment.
“This wasn’t a good result and if you score two goals away from home, you expect to get something from the game.
“It is small percentages but I would rather hang my hat on the young lads to get better over the next few months rather than going and getting that experienced boy who will be gone in six weeks.”
The Steelmen will have little time to dwell on the defeat as they are back in action on Monday night when they take on Kidsgrove Athletic at Steel Park.