Marcus Law admitted he was “disappointed for the fans” after Kettering Town were beaten by local rivals AFC Rushden & Diamonds last night.
The Poppies stormed into an early lead through Rhys Hoenes at Hayden Road but Diamonds hit back with two goals from Joel Gyasi and one from Ben Diamond as they picked up a 3-2 success in the second round of the BigFreeBet.com Challenge Cup.
Mathew Stevens pulled one back for Kettering and they also hit the crossbar and the post on a disappointing evening.
Boss Law did make a number of changes with Aaron O’Connor and Michael Richens both missing out due to suspension while Rene Howe and Gary Mulligan were rested.
And the plans were dealt a blow on the day as loan defender Marshall Willock was called up by parent club Chesterfield to play, and later score, in their FA Youth Cup win over Port Vale while goalkeeper Paul White was replaced by youngster Justin Greatorex after picking up a back problem in the warm-up.
Despite all that, the Poppies started the game impressively before Diamonds took control.
“I thought we started the game very well and I was scratching my head at half-time because I thought we were the better team,” Law, whose team resume their Evo-Stik South League Premier campaign at Dorchester Town on Saturday, said.
“Their goals have come from a goalkeeping mistake and a counter-attack and those goals really got them going because before that, they were struggling to deal with us.
“The third goal also came from a couple of mistakes from the younger players so it was disappointing.
“There are games where you find out about people and this was one of them.
“Goals always change games and we tried to give it a go late on but couldn’t finish enough of the chances that came our way.
“We made a lot of changes, more than them and Marshall being called up for the FA Youth Cup late on meant we had to change things even more than we wanted to.
“I am just disappointed for the fans because they want the bragging rights. I am disappointed for them that we couldn’t pull it back.
“It’s important that we move on from it and make sure we justify the changes we made when we go to Dorchester on Saturday.”