Ulster U16s suffered a 3-1 defeat against Wessex Spartans in the first of three fixtures at Ulster University this weekend.
A goal from Seb Holley proved to only be a consolation strike as the visitors earned a deserved victory.
It was the visitors who got off to the faster start, with just seven minutes played they won the first short corner of the game, however, it proved to be a let-off for Ulster as they kept the scores level.
Just three minutes later they did find their opener as a Wessex forward found himself at the byline before picking out a teammate at the far post, who was left with an open goal as he tapped in from close range and made it 1-0.
A positive response from Ulster saw them immediately win their first short-corner of the game with 11 minutes played, but after the ball was slipped right Seb Holley sent his effort just wide of the near post.
As the game entered the second quarter it was again the visitors who got off to a quick start as they doubled their advantage with 22 minutes on the clock.
They continued to look the more threatening of the two sides with several circle entries throughout the corner, yet it was Ulster who found the next goal.
With just two minutes left in the half, Seb Holley found himself with the ball at the 25-yard line before breaking into the circle and picking out the the far bottom corner with his strike to make it 2-1 at half-time.
Two minutes in the second half Wessex continued to look a threat as they won a handful of penalty corners, but after a save from Sam Holmes the Ulster defence managed to clear the danger.
Just minutes later Holmes was again called into action as he made a great save at his near post before one of his defenders got a stick in the way of a potential rebound.
However, with 47 minutes played they doubled their advantage when one forward picked out his unmarked strike partner at the back post for a first-time finish from close range.
A relatively quiet final quarter saw a handful of half chances for the visitors before a last-gasp deflected effort from Riley Marney nearly found a late goal for the hosts.
Ultimately Ulster couldn’t find a second goal as they came out on the wrong side of a 3-1 defeat.