Everton Under-18s were eliminated from the FA Youth Cup after a 2-1 defeat to Ipswich Town in the third round of the competition.
The young Blues dominated proceedings throughout the opening period on a bitterly cold evening at Goodison Park, but failed to fashion any clear-cut chances.
The Tractor Boys then took a shock lead with the second period barely two minutes old, with defender Ross Marshall heading home from a corner.
Ipswich doubled their lead with 25 minutes remaining when Idris El Mizouni found the bottom corner with a well-placed low drive.
Paul Tait’s side provided an instant response when Manasse Mampala’s shot-turned-cross fell into the path of Korede Adedoyin, who converted from close-range to half the deficit.
Captain Alex Denny, who made his first-team debut for the Club in the Europa League clash with Apollon Limassol in Cyprus 24 hours previously, and Mampala squandered opportunities in the final minutes as the visitors’ stubborn defence stood firm.
“We’re disappointed because we haven’t performed as individuals - nobody played anywhere near their potential - or as a team,” said coach Tait. “We didn’t do enough in the first half to break them down when we had the possession and we didn’t create enough chances. I was very disappointed with that because we’ve been scoring goals.
“The second half, we didn’t start well and we let them score off a set piece. Players haven’t done their jobs in the box when they should have done because they know what they’re doing. Then the second goal, we didn’t get out and block it.
“I thought we were poor in both boxes - we didn’t look threatening enough in theirs and we didn’t defend well enough - except Elliot Richards, who I thought was probably our best player - in our own.
“It was a cup tie and they came here with that mentality and made it hard for us. There wasn’t enough tempo to our play and we didn’t play to our strengths.
“It’s a lesson for the players looking ahead, but it stings now. We’re in development stage so we’ve got to look at the bigger picture and there’s work to be done.”
Tait’s side now face nearly a month without a game, returning to action with a league game at Derby County on Saturday 6 January.