Andy Peaks felt AFC Rushden & Diamonds deserved more than they got after their Emirates FA Cup hopes were ended last night (Tuesday).
Despite turning in another impressive display, Vanarama National League North side Alfreton Town hit Diamonds with a late double to secure a 3-1 victory in the third qualifying round replay at Hayden Road.
Peaks’ team had held a 2-0 lead in the first meeting at the Impact Arena on Saturday before the Reds, from two levels higher, hit back to earn a 2-2 draw.
And, despite Luke Fairlamb sending Diamonds in level at the break last night, they were unable to take their chances in the second half and eventually paid the price.
“I am very disappointed,” Peaks said.
“In football you don’t always get what you deserve and we definitely deserved more than to get beaten 3-1, I thought we were excellent again.
“For 20 to 25 minutes of the second half it looked like there would only be one winner.
“Their goalkeeper has made a couple of great saves, we have dominated the game and if we had scored then I think we would have gone on to win the game.
“As it turned out, they got a free-kick which the boy has stuck right in the corner, it was a great strike. But I was disappointed with the decision before that because I felt there was a foul against us but we didn’t get it.
“Then their third goal summed it up because it is a ricochet that goes into the net.
“Unfortunately, over the two games we have not had a great deal of luck and key decisions have gone against us.
“To beat a team from two leagues above, you need a little bit of luck and a couple of decisions to go your way and we got neither.
“Apart from that, we have been absolutely top drawer.”
Despite the defeat, Peaks insisted he was proud of his team’s efforts as they now prepare for a return to Evo-Stik South League East action with a home clash against Arlesey Town on Saturday.
“As disappointed as I am, I think we can walk away with our heads up,” the Diamonds manager added.
“It’s a massive ask to play a team from two leagues up and they have needed a bit of luck and a couple of decisions to beat us over two games.
“I am massively proud of the lads, they have been fantastic.
“Anyone who was there as a neutral on Tuesday wouldn’t have known which team was from the higher league and that’s a fact.
“Alfreton were very complimentary, which I suppose is easy when you have just gone through.”