Andy Peaks was left to reflect on a missed opportunity after AFC Rushden & Diamonds were dumped out of the Buildbase FA Trophy.
Two goals from Kallum Smith in the first 17 minutes were enough to secure a 2-0 success for Lincoln United in last night’s (Tuesday) second qualifying round replay after the two teams had battled out a pulsating 3-3 draw at the weekend.
Diamonds went into the clash with no fewer than seven first-team players missing due to suspension, injury and illness.
And Peaks felt that played a key role in the eventual outcome as Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Division One South rivals booked themselves a date at Kidderminster Harriers in the third qualifying round.
“I am just really frustrated because it is an opportunity we have missed,” the Diamonds boss said.
“It was very similar to the FA Cup defeat at Hendon. We’ve had seven players missing and it doesn’t matter what level you play at, if you take that number out of your squad, it’s always going to be difficult.
“But despite all that, I still felt the team we put out there was good enough to beat them.
“Unfortunately, we needed to start well and try to get on the front foot and to concede two goals in the first 15 minutes made it very tough.
“We switched off from a throw-in, which we felt was our throw-in, but the referee has given it the other way and we have not reacted to it.
“Their goalkeeper has made a great save to deny Taylor Orosz and then they have gone straight down the other end and a shot has taken a nick of Kyle McNulty and looped over Matt Finlay.
“We huffed and puffed in the second half and created a few chances and if we had got a goal then maybe we would have gone on to do something.
“It wasn’t to be but I have to give the lads credit. They kept going when they could have folded after those early goals.”
Diamonds return to league action on Saturday when they head to Loughborough Dynamo.
The Integro League Cup first-round clash with Corby Town, meanwhile, will now be played at the Dog & Duck next Tuesday (November 22, 7.45pm).