Steying Town manager John Suter admitted it was a case of what could have been in their extra-time Sussex RUR Cup exit at division-higher Crowborough on Tuesday night.
Town went down 4-2 after extra-time, but had led 2-0 at half-time thanks to Matt Dodd’s headed goal after four minutes and Lewis Levoi’s second-attempt finished 19 minutes later.
Crowborough fought back in the second half as Khalid Mwambakale pulled a goal back after two minutes, while Morgan Steadman levelled just past the hour mark.
In extra-time, Town’s Aaron Jeal saved a penalty, before Connor Charlton volleyed home from the edge of the area to give the hosts the lead.
Damarli Morrison then hit a fourth in the second period of extra-time to book Crows a place in the third round.
Suter said: “I came away feeling very disappointed as we could have won it. It was probably the best performance of the season.
“I know there are positives and we will take them away – if we play like that every week we will pick up a lot better results than we have had.
“We were 2-0 up at half-time and the way we played I felt we fully deserved it.
“We also missed a couple of chances and could have come in further ahead although they did hit the post and the bar.
“We gave away a sloppy goal after two minutes of the second half and they were on the front foot and we were on the back foot.”
Former Lewes and Worthing captain Paul Kennett made his debut for Town after agreeing to help Town out when available.
Steyning: Jeal, Hare, Smith (Warr 65), Kennett, Parsons, Early, Parsons, Early, Dodd, Boxall (Harding 65), Towse, Levoi (Kilner-Brown 90), Chad Milner.
Storrington crashed out with to a 4-2 home defeat against Arundel, while Loxwood’s second-round clash has been put back to next Tuesday owing to floodlight problems at Selsey.