Michael Flynn insists Newport County AFC's Papa John's Trophy defeat against Plymouth Argyle was a learning curve for the Exiles' young guns.
Flynn named a youthful matchday squad for the trip to the Home Park on Tuesday evening, as goalkeeper Callum Brain and midfielder Aneurin Livermore, who are both 17, were handed their debuts for the Exiles.
Sonny Lewis, 15, and 16-year-olds Harrison Bright and Callum Ryan-Phillips also made substitute cameos in the second half.
County were undone by a strong Pilgrims side which saw the likes of first-team regulars Frank Nouble, Dominic Telford and George Cooper included in their starting line-up.
But Flynn says the Exiles, whose matchday squad had an average age of 21.6, can take solace from their performance against the Sky Bet League One side.
"The young boys that came in did very well," said Flynn.
"And the old players were very professional against a strong Plymouth team who would cause problems to League Two clubs.
"We are disappointed with the goals that we conceded, but the overall play and the way they tried to do it was first class.
"I was a little but surprised by how strong Plymouth went if I am honest but that was invaluable experience for the younger boys and it was a good test for the older players to get them up to speed.
"I know that we lost but I am very pleased with the way they went about it.
"It shows them the level that they need to be at and it will give them valuable experience. They acquitted themselves really well."
The competition has allowed Flynn to rotate his squad following County's impressive start to the Sky Bet League Two season.
But the clash against the Pilgrims was the final Papa John's Trophy fixture of the campaign for the Exiles, who will be out of action this weekend after the Sky Bet League Two fixture against Grimsby Town was postponed due to international call-ups.
"It's a welcome break because I am hoping to have a good load of them back for the Port Vale game.
"There are a good few who have been out a while who have stepped up their rehab.
"They are looking strong, whether or not they will be ready for Port Vale we will have to wait and see.
"The players will have a few days off and will then be ready to go again."