Marcus Law was left frustrated after Kettering Town missed their chance to book a place in the first round of the Emirates FA Cup for the first time in six years.
The Poppies were beaten 1-0 by Evo-Stik League Premier side Nantwich Town at Latimer Park in last night’s (Tuesday) fourth qualifying round replay after the two sides had drawn 1-1 in Cheshire at the weekend.
Harry Clayton’s 19th-minute header proved decisive as the Dabbers earned themselves a trip to Sky Bet League Two side Stevenage.
But that didn’t begin to tell the full story as the Poppies’ were continually denied by an impressive defensive display from the visitors while goalkeeper Will Jaaskelainen produced a number of fine saves, including from an Aaron O’Connor penalty in the dying moments of the tie.
Kettering’s Ben Toseland also rattled the post with long-range effort but they were unable to find a way through in front of a season-high attendance of 903.
Law was understandably disappointed as his team’s perfect home record was ended but he insists his squad will now have to get over it quickly as they get ready for a huge top-of-the-table clash with Slough Town at Latimer Park in the Evo-Stik South League Premier on Saturday.
“Full credit to them (Nantwich) for their defending, they were brave and they came here and did a job,” the Poppies boss said.
“They got their one and only chance and they took it and how many times do you see that in football? Sometimes, it’s just written.
“We have given away a throw-in when we probably didn’t need to and then we have dealt with it but not cleared our lines. And from that transition the lad has got between my two defenders and he has taken the goal well.
“We huffed and puffed. Did we create chances? Yes. Did we take them? No. We have missed a penalty, we have hit the post, there have been some great saves and there was some great defending.
“I know it got a bit frustrating in the way we played at times but we needed to put pressure on them by putting the ball in there. And when we did try to open up, they held their ground and defended their spaces. They did a smash and grab job on us.
“The FA Cup Gods had it written, they knew who was going through and unfortunately it wasn’t us.
“We are very frustrated, we haven’t seized our opportunity and we need to dust ourselves down and move on.”