A youthful Cheltenham Town Reserves side were narrowly edged out 2-0 by AFC Wimbledon Reserves in a closely-fought Central League encounter at the home of Merstham FC in Surrey.
The Robins had not lost in the reserve league this season, but two goals from Levi Shango fired an experienced Dons team - who featured a number of professionals, to victory.
However, this was a display full of promise from Cheltenham who battled throughout to push their hosts all the way.
Goalkeeper Ross Grimshaw produced a fine early stop to deny Callum Kennedy from a free kick before the home side struck on 12 minutes when Shango headed home from Toby Sibbick's cross.
With Adam Page and Camden Duncan lively out wide, the Robins pressed for an equaliser.
Meanwhile, Ryan New and captain Josh Thomas were marshalling the back line well in the opening half hour.
Duncan saw an ambitious 35-yard drive float wide while Page almost picked out Will Dawes with a teasing low cross.
At the other end, the Dons were inches from extending the lead when first teamer Kwesi Appiah hit the crossbar with a powerful header.
Second half substitute Lewis Clayton produced a fine early stop to deny Egli Kaja before Cheltenham's best chance came on 55 minutes.
Dawes did well to meet a low cross from the trialist, but his rising effort flew over the bar.
Wimbledon continued to threaten and scored a second in the final minute as Shango raced clear and poked the ball home.
CTFC: Grimshaw (Clayton 45), Handley, Scott (Davis 68), New, Thomas (Bedford 68), Llewelyn (Briscoe 45), Brennan, Duncan, Page (Price 73), Trialist, Dawes.