Steve Kinniburgh insisted his Corby Town team “weren’t disgraced in any way” as they bowed out of the Emirates FA Cup in a 3-0 defeat at Stockport County.
Three second-half goals ensured the Steelmen’s fine run in this season’s competition came to an end in the third qualifying round as the Vanarama National League North side had a bit too much for them at Edgeley Park.
Kinniburgh admitted the second-half introduction of striker Frank Mulhern, who scored two of the home side’s goals, was a “game-changer” but he firmly believes his young squad will have learned some valuable lessons from the game in front of nearly 2,000 fans.
“We have come up against a team two leagues higher and it’s a completely different level from where we are at to where they are at,” the Steelmen boss said.
“We are rebuilding from what has happened over the last few years at the club with a young team and, to a man, they will have learned so much from that.
“You can do so much on the training ground and playing against teams at our level but when you come up against players who are physically stronger and quicker and are full-time you learn a lot. The experience they will have gained from that will be brilliant.
“I thought we matched them over the pitch in the first half, we knew where the danger was going to come from and we had a couple of outlets ourselves where we could have nicked one.
“The game changer was the centre-forward (Mulhern) coming on, he was magnificent. He caused us lots of problems and scored two of the goals.
“We have come a long way as a club, as a squad and as a team.
“We have started the season really well and had a good journey in the FA Cup, which is brilliant.
“It was always going to come to an end and it’s happened against a team from a higher level who want to be even higher. It’s not a bad way for it to end.
“We weren’t disgraced in any way and there were some individuals who really stood up for us.”
There will be no time for Corby to dwell on their FA Cup exit as they bid to maintain their unbeaten start to the Evo-Stik League South Division One Central season when they head to Bedford Town on Tuesday night.
And Kinniburgh added: “The league is your bread and butter and that’s where you have got to set your stall out.
“Your league position and where you finish is your season and that’s what we have always concentrated on.
“The FA Cup and Trophy are extras and we have already spoken about the game on Tuesday.
“I don’t think there will be much negativity, we can take a lot of positives into the game.”