Steyning Town manager Alan Skipper says their Sussex Senior Cup exit at East Grinstead was a bitter pill to swallow after they missed a host of second-half chances.
The Barrowmen spurned a place in the quarter-finals of the competition as they fell to a 2-1 defeat at their Ryman League South Division opponents.
Hassan Jalloh and Jack Mahoney’s strikes were enough to ensure East Grinstead reached the final eight, but Town counted themselves unfortunate not to force extra-time after Lee Garnham netted on 83 minutes in a tense finale.
Skipper said: “It was a game we really were looking forward to. We’ve had some good cup performances this year we were heading to face the highest opposition of the season so far and were under no illusion what a huge test it would be.
“That said we had our strongest squad available and we were confident we would give a performance that we knew were are capable of giving. Credit to our lads they certainly did give that performance and more.
“I felt East Grinstead edged the first half though we were not devoid of our chances as our pace always trouble them and we played some good football of our own.
“The second half, I felt was a more-even affair until they scored after which we found ourselves pushing harder and caused them problems, problems to the extent that we have at least half a dozen very good chances that in the cold light of day we should have taken advantage of.
“Although the defeat is hard to take, we can only be really proud of the lads cup exploits this season and none more so than last night. It really reinforces what a cracking group of lads we have at the club and my thanks goes to them for a really enjoyable cup campaigns this season.”
East Grinstead took the lead with 17 minutes on the clock as Jalloh’s low 25-yard free-kick squirmed under Ben Rose.
In the second half, Mahoney then made it 2-0 with 23 minutes left in between a plethora of Town chances they went begging.
Garnham did pull one back with seven minutes left but they failed an elusive leveller.
Skipper added: “I must say what fantastic facilities East Grinstead have and there must have been some hard work undertaken over the last couple of years or so. The hospitality and welcome were superb.
“Now, we must really focus in the league and transform some the those performances in the cup through to the league and accumulate some points.”
Steyning: Rose, Finch, Elms, Dodd, Parsons, Knowles, Gainsford, Garnham, Skipper, Levoi, Clark. Subs: Early, Pickup, Hare, Hartley, Assefi.