Loxwood boss Dave Cocoracchio admitted Tuesday night’s RUR Cup final heartbreak was the hardest defeat of his footballing career.
The Magpies, who played the last 30 minutes with ten men, looked to be heading to victory against Eastbourne Town thanks to Shaun Findlay’s 81st-minute goal at Culver Road.
They then had Gary Pritchard’s goal ruled out for offside with four minutes left, before Town equalised through Dan Smith two minutes later.
Town then lifted the cup as Jack Turner deflected home from what looked like an offside position deep in injury-time.
Cocoracchio said: “It’s probably the toughest one I have had to take in my career – even as a player, but certainly the hardest one as a manager.
“I feel for the team and the boys as from the moment this week started nothing has gone our way, from injuries, illness to suspensions.
“It has all been a backwards step and that carried on in the game.
“It’s really sad that from a cup final of this stature, we are left talking about referee and linesman decisions – it really leaves a bitter taste and its hard to swallow.
“The free-kick for the winner was never one in a million years and their manager and assistant have admitted that.
“Then from that, their guy is offside, when you take into account moments before our goal which isn’t offside is flagged and then their goal that is offside isn’t, how do you deal with that?”
I feel for the team and the boys as from the moment this week started nothing has gone our way, from injuries, illness to suspensions.Dave Cocoracchio