A youthful Pompey Reserves side were beaten 6-0 by Aston Villa in a Premier League Cup group match at Bodymoor Heath.
The team was mostly made up of academy players, although Luke McGee started between the sticks and Matt Casey wore the captain’s armband.
And they began the contest brightly, producing a solid performance that frustrated their more experienced hosts.
But Villa finally broke the deadlock late in the first half and managed to add a second goal just before the break.
The category one side then took control following the restart, adding four more strikes to deflate the Blues.
Academy manager Mark Kelly said: “We showed good discipline and shape early on and our opponents couldn’t break us down, while we managed to get out on the break a few times.
“But we were undone by a little lack of discipline in midfield and a clever through ball to concede the first and then they pressed quickly to add another just before half-time.
"I was impressed with the way the boys kept going, never letting their heads drop."
“We knew we had to remain controlled and retain the ball, and looked bright once the action got started again.
“Then Villa’s pace, power and quality took over. They’re a very good under-23 side and that showed over the course of the 90 minutes.
“With the average age of our side, we were giving around five years away to them across the board.
“You’d ideally like it to be a bit more balanced, but it hasn’t quite worked out for us with the way the first team games have fallen.
“A few older lads might have enjoyed the match a bit more, although I was impressed with the way the boys kept going, never letting their heads drop.
“They tried to do the right things and can learn from that – it’ll be a real eye-opener for them and so we can’t be too despondent.”
Pompey: McGee; Kavanagh (Bruce 75), Casey (c), Dandy, Rew; Bridgman (Bell 54), Storey (Brook 66); Teggart, Flint, Maloney; Stanley
Subs not used: Durin, Kelly