Steve Kinniburgh admitted “15 or 20 minutes of madness” cost Corby Town as their winning streak and interest in the FA Trophy was ended by a 3-2 defeat at St Neots Town.
The Steelmen’s superb form under the caretaker-manager looked like it would continue after a stunning strike from Jordon Crawford and a Ben Diamond header put them 2-0 in the first half against their Evo-Stik South League Premier opponents.
But the hosts stormed back in the second half and scored three goals in the space of just 14 minutes while Connor Kennedy was sent-off for a second bookable offence.
Crawford hit the crossbar with another effort but there was no way back in the first qualifying round tie.
And Kinniburgh conceded that the gameplan that had worked so well for his side in the opening period “went to pot” after the break.
“We went into it with a gameplan, we knew that they had a lot of pace up top and we nullified that in the first half with a good backline and the goalkeeper’s starting position,” the Steelmen caretaker-boss said.
“We were well on top of the game and it was excellent in the first half. We didn’t let them into it and we got the couple of goals and probably could have got at least one more.
“But in the second half we didn’t stick to the gameplan.
“Two of their three goals have come through the pace they have. We switched off and allowed them to use that pace. That’s ultimately what has cost us.
“You always have it when you are 2-0 up, it’s the old cliche of the next goal being massively important and they got it after six minutes of the second half.
“As a team, we went into a bit of a panic instead of doing things properly. It was 15 or 20 minutes of madness.
“It was 20 minutes of what I would call headloss. But aside from that, we were good and even pushed on towards the end and hit the crossbar.
“We were down to 10 men but I can’t fault the boys’ effort and what they gave to the team.
“Overall, if I take a step back, there were a lot of things that pleased me. It was just that 20 minutes where the gameplan went to pot.”
Kinniburgh was full of praise for Crawford after an impressive display from the young winger who signed a contract with the club last week.
“Jordon gives you bags of energy and that bit of quality as well,” he added.
“He is a terrific player and he is one of the boys that we got on contract last week because he has a big future at this club, I hope.
“That was part of the gameplan, to get him and Ben Diamond on the ball and it worked really well in the first half.
“But even the offensive side of the gameplan didn’t happen as much as I would have liked in the second half. Maybe we didn’t anticipate the wind being as strong as it was and instead of managing the ball, we were overhitting it.”