Tommy Wright felt Corby Town lost their grip on a place in this season’s FA Cup last weekend, rather than the midweek replay at Norton United.
The Steelmen were beaten 2-1 at the Evo-Stik Northern League Division One South side on Tuesday night with Spencer Weir-Daley’s first goal for the club proving to be no more than a consolation.
Corby created plenty of chances that weren’t converted as the hosts advanced into the second qualifying round.
But Wright insisted the damage was really done in the first game at Steel Park after his team squandered leads of 2-0 and 3-1 as Norton scored twice in the final nine minutes to seal a 3-3 draw.
“This is what can happen with cup football,” the Steelmen boss said.
“We let them back into it at the weekend and then we had to go to their ground and, as it turned, out, lady luck was on their side.
“I wouldn’t say we were amazing by any stretch but we had a lot of chances and the penalty decision so early in the game knocked us back.
“We lost Shane Byrne to a hamstring injury, Kalern Thomas had work commitments and Cleveland Taylor’s partner gave birth on Tuesday so we were up against it.
“But the frustrating thing is that it should never have come to that.
“We gave them a lot of confidence in that crazy nine or 10 minutes at the end of the game on Saturday.
“We feel we have let the club, the fans but most importantly ourselves down. We have not shown enough in the last five games.
“The league was always the priority from day one but we know the finances that would have come from a cup run would have been great for the club.”
The Steelmen return to Southern League Premier Division duty on Saturday when they take on Paulton Rovers at Steel Park.
Don’t miss a full preview of this weekend’s clash in Thursday’s Corby Telegraph