Crewe Alexandra Under 18's were undone by a 90th minute strike at Sheffield United to lose 2-1 to The Blades.
Lee Bell's young side, filled largely with first year scholars, battled well from a goal down to salvage what looked like a point before the hosts' last gasp strike.
After a goal-less & cagey first half, United bundled their way into the lead on the hour mark, the striker turning home after goalkeeper Will Appleyard could only power away a driven cross.
But The Alex showed character & levelled with 12 minutes remaining, Alex Hurst using his pace down the right & thrashing across goal, the keeper spilled it & Joe Thompson was on hand to turn home his fourth goal in three matches.
Just as though it looked the game would end in a creditable draw, a Blades free-kick was swung into the box in the last minute, and it was met with a looping header that dropped into the net in a real hard-luck story for Crewe.
Next up for The Alex is a meeting with United's Steel City neighbours Sheffield Wednesday at Reaseheath.
Crewe: Appleyard, Manuel, Barlow, Sass-Davies, Abidbisi, Odipe (Fenton), Heath, Hurst, Lomas (Linton), Walsh, Thompson