By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Managing Editor
Peter Beardsley praised the "character" and "determination" of his Newcastle United Under-21 side, despite a 3-1 home defeat against Derby County on Monday night.
An inexperienced Mapgies' second string conceded inside the opening 35 seconds at Whitley Park, before finding themselves two goals down with less than seven minutes on the clock.
However, rather than crumble, United fought their way back into the contest, with Callum Roberts striking the post before Lewis McNall halved the deficit just before the interval.
Table-topping Derby completed the scoring in the second half, and while Beardsley was disappointed with the manner of the goals his side conceded, he had no complaints about the attitude of his players.
"They weren't brilliant goals - they were bad mistakes, especially the first two," the Club's football development manager told nufc.co.uk.
"We should have had two in the wall for the first one, just to make the ball go in the air. The fact they could put the ball in that space along the ground is very poor from us.
"For the second one, we got away with it at the near post but then it went to the far post and we conceded.
"Set-pieces are very important but having made two mistakes for the opening goals, the lads lifted their heads and had a real go.
"We learned a lot about their character. When you go 2-0 down in seven minutes you fear the worst because it was such a young side.
"It could have gone horribly wrong, but they showed great grit and determination to keep going and make a real game of it.
"The lads gave us everything they've got and that's all you can ask for. They are an honest group.
"We had a lot of young kids, who aren't experienced at this level, who we had to throw in to the team.
"We did a lot of good things, but Derby were physically and mentally too strong for us and had a bit too much experience.
"It's frustrating but it's where we're at with the development of these young players.
"It's not all about winning at this level. Of course you like to win, but it's about playing well and hopefully producing players for the first team."