Marcus Law had few complaints after Kettering Town’s CSS Challenge Cup hopes were ended at Stratford Town.
The Poppies boss made six changes to his starting line-up after the Evo-Stik League South Premier Division Central win over Tamworth at the weekend.
Youngster Jack O’Connor was handed a starting role while Ben Bradshaw, who had been on loan at Corby Town and under-21 player Arjal Hundal both made appearances off the bench.
The clash against Stratford, who are managed by former Poppies boss Thomas Baillie, ended 3-3 after normal time with Luke Graham scoring twice and Rhys Hoenes grabbing the other for the Poppies.
But Kettering were beaten 4-1 in the resulting penalty shoot-out and Law conceded Stratford were the “better side” on the night.
“We were restricted by how many players have signed league forms and we wanted Aaron O’Connor to play but he was still ill,” the Poppies boss said.
“So we had to move things around a little bit, we looked at who we wanted to play and for how long and we made substitutions to suit our circumstances rather than for tactical reasons.
“I thought we started brightly but they went about their business far better than us, they were the better side and Paul White had to make numerous saves to keep them out.
“They created a lot of good chances but the disappointing thing is that the goals they scored came from mistakes we made and the defensive performance from our point of view would not have been acceptable in game with a higher priority.
“The positives for us were that Jack O’Connor played well, Ben Bradshaw looks to be in a good place and the young lad Arjal Hundal did well when he came on.
“Overall, the game served its purpose. It was a good training exercise and some useful minutes for those who needed them.”