Lincoln United boss Terry Fleming believes Tuesday's heavy defeat to Boston United will prove to be a valuable learning curve for his side.
The Whites slipped out of the Lincolnshire Senior Shield following a 4-0 home defeat to the Blue Square Bet North outfit.
It was United's first defeat of pre-season following victories over RAF Waddington (6-0), Louth Town (4-3) and Askern Villa (5-0).
But Fleming insists his young side will learn from the loss ahead of their Evo-Stik Division One (South) opener at home at Sheffield FC on Saturday, August 18.
"It was a good game for our guys against a side two levels higher than us," reflected Fleming, who fielded summer signings Joe Butler and Tom Cowan against the Pilgrims.
"It was fantastic for our guys to see what they can achieve if they apply themselves.
"It's given us food for thought in terms of attacking play.
"I thought defensively we had a pretty good shape.
"But when we had the ball we gave it away cheaply at times.
"If you do that, you will get punished by the better sides."
The Whites host a Scunthorpe United XI on Saturday (1pm).