The Chesterfield youth team went down to a narrow 2-1 defeat away to high-flyers Hull City.
The young Spireites were two goals down in the first half and despite pulling one back through a Jake Beesley penalty, were unable to level the scoreline.
Coach Mark Smith reflected on the game and his side's progression in the last year.
He said: "It was interesting to see how far we've come because we've come away at the end of the game disappointed that we've not taken anything from it.
"We've lost 2-1 so we can't do anything about the result as such, but it just shows you how far we've come that we do go to places like Hull and feel that way."
Smith highlighted the strength of the youth set up of Saturday's opponents, showing the challenge his team faced in the match- and almost rose to.
Smith said: "Hull are one of the better teams and they're only 2% off being a category 2 academy, which they're striving for.
"They were decent, but we've gone up there and after a slow start we've made a real game out of it and they're hanging on at the end.
"So in that respect you can't forget about our progress and that's the positive I take out of it because this time last year we'd have gone up there and got beaten easily.
"However, now we're competitive and we play some good stuff at times, like we did on Saturday."
Both sides had a player sent off towards the conclusion of the match, and when City had their man dismissed, Smith saw the opportunity to grab a point, or even more.
He said: "They had a man sent off for violent conduct and were down to ten men and at that point I thought we were going to nick something and perhaps even go on to win it, but then we had Beesley sent off for a lack of discipline and frustration and it just evened things up and from there it became more even.
"The big thing for me is that we've gone away to a place where we got beaten heavily last season, whereas this season we've gone there, made more a of a game of it and with a bit more quality we could have got something."