YOUTH team coach Dan Wilson believes York City's youngsters have been buoyed by a "valuable experience" at Whitby Town, despite the defeat.

With an average squad age of 18, a young City side were knocked out of the North Riding County FA Senior Cup by the Seasiders, losing 4-1 on the Yorkshire coast.

The second round tie was closer than the scoreline suggests, though, and the deficit was just one goal for much of the night, with the hosts' final two goals arriving in the last four minutes of the game.

A defeat smarts no matter what the circumstances, but there were definite positives for the youngsters to take from Tuesday night.

In front of a crowd of 362 and playing against a team of Step 3 play-off hopefuls - as well as former York and Cardiff City midfielder, Whitby joint-manager Lee Bullock - the fixture provided some contrast to the National League Under-19s Alliance League games that the majority of the squad contest on a regular basis.

York are doing well in their league competition, sitting fourth in the table - and Wilson reckons they will head into Friday's game against their Boston United counterparts at Wigginton Road with a spring in their step.

"One of the things we want more of is more variety in our programme. It used to be that we had access to reserve-team fixtures but we don't have those anymore," Wilson explained.

"A lot of our games programme revolves around playing under-18s, -19s teams with the opportunity to play against men's teams and experienced players fairly limited.

"Fixtures like the North Riding Cup against Whitby are excellent and last night was great - under the lights with fans at a proper stadium.

"It's a valuable experience for the boys.

"Even though they've been beaten, I think it was a bit of a confidence boost. I don't think the young players came off dejected - I think they were really buoyed by the experience.

"It was great listening to them afterwards. There was no need for a coach to say, ' There was this, this and this wrong' - they knew.

"'I could have been better in this situation' or 'I wasn't getting tight enough'.

"We've got some really bright young people who can figure things out given the right experiences, and certainly last night was a good experience.

"No one ever likes losing games of football," Wilson continued. "For the younger ages in the academy, there isn't much focus on the outcome, it's more about processes. When we get to 17s, 18s, we've got to find ways to win games of football.

"You don't want to exit cup competitions, either. These are valuable experiences, playing against men's teams, and if you get another round, you get another experience.

"But in terms of the actual processes the players put into place, I'm really pleased with them. There were some really young players on the pitch last night.

"They're playing against seasoned players who are doing well in their league. It's a real challenge for them.

"I'm pleased with what they did and their attitude towards it."

Mixed in with the youth team players were Mackenzie Heaney, Harrison Hopper and Sam Fielding, who have all seen their fair share of first-team action this season.

As the most experienced footballers in the squad, Wilson was also impressed with how those three - still young - players acquitted themselves.

"Mackenzie, Harrison and Sam were excellent in and around the dressing room, as they should be - they've got some experience, some leadership qualities the rest don't have," he said.

"They were brilliant with looking after them, talking to them and helping them think their way through the game."

Against a near full-strength Whitby side, Tuesday was always going to be a tough game for City. Wilson revealed they also went into it following their Christmas break, having had only "one or two" training sessions before crossing the white line.

In praise of his players, Wilson continued: "Jack (Degruchy) was really high energy, as he always is, and I think the three boys who played at the back with Sam were all excellent.

"I didn't see the full-backs, Jonny (Shepherd) or Jacob (McLaughlin), lose many of the one-v-ones. They stood up and they were strong. I don't think (Whitby) created a lot through wide areas.

"Ben (Dale) in the centre alongside Sam played out really well at times.

"We defended fairly resolutely. I don't think Whitby scoring four was a fair reflection on the game.

"I think we were a little bit unlucky - the Whitby keeper made a couple of good saves in the first half and Mackenzie hit the crossbar in the second half.

"Then we've conceded a couple of poor goals, which we're aware of, but I think we're putting it down to rustiness.

"Maison (Campbell) has been excellent for us in the under-19s programme and those were uncharacteristic errors but not ones we're concerned about in the long term.

"In the changing room before the game we were saying that Lee Bullock was playing and Ben went, 'Who's that?'

"I think there's a generation gap there but once he does a bit of Googling he'll think, 'That's decent - I've had a good challenge'.

"Ben did really well, we're really pleased with his performance."