Nicky Eaden conceded Kettering Town were lacking an “end product” after they were held to a 1-1 draw by Sutton Coldfield Town in the second qualifying round of the Emirates FA Cup.
The Poppies were punished for a slow start against Step 4 opposition when Isai Marselia fired Sutton into the lead.
Dan Nti levelled from the penalty spot after Gary Stohrer had been fouled in the area and, despite dominating possession after that, the Poppies were unable to find a second goal with Nti seeing another spot-kick saved by Lewis Gwilliams in the second period.
It means the two teams will both be in tomorrow’s (Monday) third qualifying round draw before they battle it out in a replay at Coles Lane on Tuesday night.
And Poppies boss Eaden said: “I watched Sutton and they are a dogged and determined team who will hang on in games.
“In their replay at Redditch, they went a goal down but they hung on in there and that’s the quality they have got.
“I warned our lads that if they weren’t at it and we lowered our standard and they raised their game then there wouldn’t be much difference. And in the first 15 to 20 minutes that’s what happened. They got the goal and deserved it.
“We ended up changing and going to a back four and I thought that helped us get a grip on it.
“We dominated possession but we haven’t tested the keeper enough and there wasn’t enough in terms of an end product.
“If we had showed our quality with the end product then we would have won the game.”
The Poppies will be checking up on the fitness of captain Joe Skarz ahead of the midweek replay after he limped off with a leg injury in the second half.