Billy Barr admits he saw the good and the bad from his side in the narrow defeat to Stoke City Under-18s at the weekend.
After going a goal down in the game, Rovers battled back with two second half strikes, with the latter coming with just four minutes to go.
But from looking like they were going to be late winners, the hosts grabbed two late strikes with James Jennings completing his hat-trick to hand late heartbreak to Barr's boys.
And despite the 3-2 defeat, Billy says there are positives to take from his young team's display in the Potteries.
“We were good and bad in the first half and went 1-0 down thanks to poor back-pass to catch ourselves out. We were having a nice period in the game at that point and the penalty did rock us," he admitted.
“We spoke about retaining possession and going through the lines at half time and started the second half better, then had a wobble and then got on top.
"There are certainly positives to take. There was an instant impact from Sam Burns in scoring just two minutes after coming on, and we showed character to come back from 1-0 down, which was something we’ve spoken about over the summer.
"We went 2-1 up with four minutes to go and at that point we were on top. We had to think about what we were doing from then on in, but straight from Stoke’s kick-off we couldn’t get the ball back, went deeper and deeper and conceded another penalty. Someone went to ground and gave the referee a decision to make.
“We then turned off in injury time and after an easy cross a free header put it back across goal to finish. Jennings won’t have had an easier hat-trick and each goal was avoidable from our point of view."
It's a learning curve in the early stages of this campaign for the young Rovers, but he is seeking improvement, and more importantly, communication from all the players on the pitch.
“As a group, we’re not used to winning games. Aside from the FA Youth Cup, our season in the league was horrific," he said honestly.
“We are young and it’s about learning from last season and the start of this campaign. For their own development, at these points it’s about game management. We are a quiet group and don’t have many leaders. We need them all to lead and talk on the pitch."
Rovers Under-18s are next in action against Manchester City next weekend. Kick-off is 11am on Saturday 18th August at the Academy Stadium in Manchester.