Andy Peaks admitted AFC Rushden & Diamonds went out of the Emirates FA Cup “with a bit of a whimper” as they were beaten 2-1 at Hayes & Yeading United.
Diamonds lost twice to the same side on their way to promotion last season and were unable to get the better of them yet again in the first qualifying round clash.
Goals from Lewis Toomey and Lee Barney put the hosts 2-0 up before Ben Farrell’s late penalty proved to be nothing more than a consolation for Peaks’ team.
And Peaks wasn’t in the mood to mix his words after a rare off-day for his players.
“We were not good enough,” the Diamonds boss said.
“I said to the players after the game that sometimes you don’t get what you deserve and sometimes you do and, on this occasion, we got what we deserved which was nothing.
“We were not good enough in possession or out of possession and we didn’t win enough 50-50s or second balls.
“I can count on one hand how many times I have been disappointed with the players over the past three or four years and this was one those.
“And it has happened in a massive competition where you don’t get a second bite of the cherry so it is really frustrating.
“I won’t take anything away from Hayes. They are clearly a good team so you have to give them credit.
“But we weren’t at the races and we have gone out with a bit of a whimper to be honest.
“There were few very positives for us and I will now be looking to see what the character of our team is like when we come into the next game.”
That next game is on Saturday when Diamonds return to Evo-Stik League South Premier Division Central action with a trip to Royston Town.