Andy Peaks was full of pride after AFC Rushden & Diamonds were edged out of the FA Cup in a 1-0 defeat at Hendon.
But the Diamonds boss was unable to hide his disappointment on a day where he felt his team deserved more than they got in the first qualifying round.
The ChromaSport & Trophies United Counties League Premier Division side gave as a good as they got against the Ryman League Premier Division high-fliers but were denied by a number of good saves from home goalkeeper Ben McNamara.
And, in the second, a second-half goal from Leon Smith proved to be enough for the north London team to progress.
Peaks said: “I thought they got out of jail to be honest.
“Their goalkeeper made two or three excellent saves and then they caught us on the break and maybe that was the difference in quality, they took their chance when we didn’t.
“We took a lot of compliments from the people down there but I am disappointed because we were well worth a draw. In fact, I thought we deserved to win.
“The league and the FA Vase remain our priorities but you never want to come out of the FA Cup and I am disappointed because if we had brought them back to our ground then I would have fancied us.”
Peaks’ team can now focus on their UCL Premier Division campaign, which resumes with a trip to in-form Yaxley next weekend.
“They have had a decent start so it’s going to be a tough game,” the Diamonds boss added.
“We will regroup during the week. The FA Cup has gone now and we must make sure we are ready to try to pick up three points next weekend.”