Mark Birch says Carlisle United’s under-18s must now show they can respond to the “reality check” of a heavy FA Youth Cup defeat.

A 4-0 loss at the hands of Fleetwood Town sent the young Blues out of the competition at the first hurdle.

Birch admitted United did not do themselves justice at Brunton Park in a game watched by first-team boss Paul Simpson and some of his senior pros.

The coach said his team were not good enough in both boxes, and must now show their character in how they learn and move on.

“It’s down to moments in games, and the lads have got to learn from it if they want to go forward and have a career at some level,” said under-18s manager Birch.

READ MORE: Carlisle v Fleetwood in FA Youth Cup - as it happened

“They either sit and sulk or overcome disappointment quickly, which is what football’s all about – it’s not all about going forward, climbing the hill and keeping going, you’re going to have that dip where you get a reality check.

“It’s about how quickly can you overcome disappointment and get back onto the next moment.”

United were 2-0 down after 17 minutes and then shipped two more early in the second half.

The hosts could not find a way back despite a number of second-half chances, with players including first-team prospect Nic Bollado frustrated.

“Fleetwood were better in both penalty boxes, both defending and attacking it,” said Birch.

“The little bit in between you’ve got to be neat and tidy but games are won in both penalty boxes.

“We didn’t defend the penalty box and weren’t aggressive enough in trying to create or score goals. After the first two goals it was game over, to be honest.”

United came close to opening the scoring through Bollado before a tenth-minute penalty saw Fleetwood ahead.

It came after Jake Allan handled a cross and Mikey Lane shot the visitors in front.

“Jake will beat himself up for it,” said Birch. “These things happen in football and to young players, and he’s got to learn from it.

“I’m more disappointed with the corner that we conceded the second from [to Kayden Hughes’ header]. We didn’t attack the ball.

“We worked on it this morning; it was all about getting the first contact, not letting people run off you. That’s more disappointing than the penalty.

“We told them at half-time that we get a goal and it’s game on. I always find 2-0 a hard lead to defend. But then we give them another goal.

“I can’t fault the lads’ effort but on the night we didn’t do normally what they do.”

Zane Marsh’s brace killed United off, his first coming after a defensive error from a long ball over the top, his second a clinical header.

READ MORE: Match report from Carlisle's FA Youth Cup defeat

“Fleetwood are a good side,” Birch added. “They’ve got good hunger, a good way of playing.

“It’s just disappointing that they didn’t really make any mistakes. We did and we got punished for every mistake we made.”

Birch said he would try to take the positives from the experience and hoped his players would now move on in the right way.

He added: “We had a lot of first years on the pitch, and it’s the first time they’ve probably played under floodlights at Brunton Park.

“It’s a special night doing that. It’s a great stadium to play at – a big night with the floodlights on, because it’s such an old, traditional stadium.

“There were just under 500 people here, which is probably the most they’ve ever played in front of.

“That’s out of the system now and they can move forward. They’ve done it, had an experience – probably not a pleasant experience – but the positive is they’ve done it. Next time they’ll find it a lot easier.

“We’ve got to move past it now. We’ve got Rotherham in the Alliance Cup on Saturday.

“Football’s all about how quickly can you overcome disappointments, whether that’s in the game and you make a bad pass, can you make the next one better, and if it’s losing the game, can you win the next one?

“You can’t sit and dwell, but football moves so quickly. The ones who sit and dwell on it are the ones who get left behind.”