Marcus Law was left disappointed after Kettering Town fell at the first hurdle in the FA Trophy as they were beaten 3-2 at lower-ranked Leek Town.
The Poppies boss was frustrated with a poor first-half display in the first qualifying round tie as the Evo-Stik League South hosts went in with 1-0 lead at the break.
That advantage was doubled early in the second period but the Poppies stormed back with goals from Ben Toseland and substitute Aaron O’Connor.
However, Tim Grice hit a later winner for Leek to condemn Kettering to just their third defeat of the season so far.
Law shuffled his pack once again for the clash with both Gary Mulligan and Mathew Stevens not even being included in the squad.
And while the manager was disappointed to see his team’s interest in the competition ended early, he is already looking ahead to Tuesday’s trip to Bishop’s Stortford which is the Poppies’ game in hand on their rivals at the top end of the Evo-Stik South League Premier rivals.
“It’s disappointing, obviously we didn’t want to get knocked out of the competition,” the Kettering boss said.
“I think we are really disappointed in the first-half performance. Leek deserved to go into the lead and scored they scored a good goal.
“Our boys needed a bit of a rocket at half-time, they got that and we were much better in the second half.
“They scored their second goal against the run of play but we bounced back and got back to 2-2 and that took a lot of character, which was pleasing.
“And from there, I thought we would push on.
“But then, we have dealt with a throw-in but Michael Richens has possibly tried to be a bit too clever with a pass instead of sticking it in behind.
“They’ve scored the goal but I have my defenders telling me he was two or three yards offside and that went along with some other very strange refereeing decisions.
“We are very disappointed. I thought we were much better in the second half and we deserved to come out of it with at least a replay.
“The only real positive is that we have got rid of the goalscoring voodoo after a bit of a barren spell in front of goal.
“We have to move on and we know how important Tuesday night is and we have to make sure we put our full focus on that.”