Despite the scoreline, Under-21s coach Eric Kinder felt there were plenty of positives to take from the match against Norwich City.
For an hour Rovers were more than in the game against the Canaries, but once the visitors got the crucial second goal, it was always going to be an uphill task, with the match ending 5-0.
Against a Norwich side featuring nine players from their FA Youth Cup winning run last, Rovers more than held their own, but late goals made it look like a comprehensive defeat.
"I think it was a little bit harsh on us really," said Kinder after the game. "If you look at the make up of the side tonight, we had four senior lads coming in and the rest of them were Academy lads.
"We looked at it and I think we had five 17 year-olds and a 16 year-old playing so it was always going to be tough.
"They are a decent side, they won the FA Youth Cup last year and they've got some good players and right up to half-time I thought we did really well.
"I was impressed with Sam Lavelle at the back and George Pierce in midfield, and they'll learn from it. They'll have to learn from it.
"We will be young this season and it will be tough as we've got some hard places to go, but I saw plenty there tonight to give me hope and I've told them that if they keep working hard they'll get their rewards.
"The lads are all disappointed, nobody likes losing football matches, but we've got to take the positives out of it, we've got some really young lads in there.
"I can see something there, it gives me hope."
The Under-21s are back in action at the end of the month when they face an away match against West Ham United on Friday 31st January.