Bamber Bridge boss Neil Reynolds gave his players a big pat on the back despite their exit from the Lancashire FA Challenge Trophy.
The NPL First Division North promotion challengers were beaten at the quarter-final stage by neighbours Chorley on Tuesday night at the Sir Tom Finney Stadium.
Despite leading 1-0 thanks to a goal from Alistair Waddecar, Chorley hit back and sealed a 2-1 win thanks to Nick Haughton clinical injury-time winner.
Although gutted to go out, Reynolds – whose team played a large part of the second half with 10 men after Brad Carsley’s red card – was pleased by the performance against Matt Jansen’s men, who are two divisions above them in the football pyramid.
And he believes it will give his players confidence as they prepare for the the busy Christmas period.
“I was really disappointed to go out because we did so well,” Reynolds said.
“To lose to a 91st-minute goal was pretty hard to swallow.
“We were the better team – there isn’t any doubt about it.
“Matt Jansen will say the same thing. He was very complimentary about us in his interview after the game.
“On the balance of play, we deserved to go 1-0 up, but we surrendered the lead shortly after. But we came out in the second half, lost Brad and we took the game to them, even with 10 men.
“Going down to 10 men, we could have gone the other way, but we didn’t.
“We created chances, we should have scored. We just could not capitalise.
“We should have had a blatant free-kick down the other end before they scored, but that’s how the evening turned out.
“They had a strong team out. They’ve got a National League North squad of 20 – all with experience at that level.
“But we went toe to toe with them and they didn’t get the better of us in terms of performance.
“We were devastated to go out of the competition because it’s one we wanted to win, but we wish them all the best – I hope they go on and win it now.”
Much to Reynolds’ frustration, his team are without a game tomorrow, which wil mean by the time they play Radcliffe Borough at home on Saturday week, four weeks will have passed since they last played on a Saturday.
Scheduled games against Glossop North End and Hyde United have both fallen foul of the weather.
“Four weeks will have passed since we last played a league game, against Ramsbottom United,” said Reynolds.
“It is frustrating, but we will be in training – I will just have to go and watch another game tomorrow.”
Meanwhile, Carsley is facing a three-match ban after being red-carded against Chorley for a late challenge on goalkeeper Matty Urwin.