Ilkeston FC manager Kevin Wilson was left ruing defensive errors and a lack of ruthlessness in front of goal as he saw his side dumped out of the FA Trophy on Saturday.
The 2-1 defeat to St Neots Town meant it was the second year in succession that the Robins had fallen at the first qualifying round stage of the competition having lost by the same scoreline to Gresley last season.
Despite having arrived at the ground just half-an-hour before kick-off due to traffic problems, Ilkeston led at half-time thanks to Che Adams’ goal, but St Neots fought back in the second-half to set up a second qualifying round clash at home to Darlington 1883.
Wilson said: “It’s disappointing because we obviously wanted to do well in this competition given the financial aspect of it and also because we got nothing from it last year.
“We conceded two poor goals again to individual errors and that’s something we have to try and cut out.
“The late arrival didn’t help of course but we then got ourselves in front. After that we didn’t gamble enough in the penalty area when good chances came about that could have won us the game.
“Che’s hit the bar and perhaps Ashley Hunter could have done better with the pull back on the rebound, then we’ve had two efforts go across the face of goal that only needed someone to gamble and get a touch on and we could have scored.
“They were really only a threat to us at set pieces until we shot ourselves in the foot again and they scored two goals that were down to poor defending.
“We’ve got a free week now where we can sit down and re-evaluate where we are compared to this time last year and see what we need to do to improve things. I think there will be far more positives than last year.”
Two new faces appeared in the Robins squad with Joe Burgess and Harry Randell having arrived from Histon. Burgess was at Peterborough United last season and impressed in his 90 minute spell in defence, whilst midfielder Randell was part of Norwich City’s FA Youth Cup final side last year and came on as a late substitute at St Neots.
Wilson added: “Joe did very well having also played for an hour on Thursday night and hopefully we can keep that going.
“You only have to study our squad to know that we are all about giving people a second chance and Joe and Henry fit into that category.”
Frickley Athletic will be the next opponents for Ilkeston as they head to the New Manor Ground on Saturday.
There will then be another free midweek, although as the Advertiser went to press no fixture was arranged for Saturday, November 15 either given it is a scheduled FA Trophy weekend.
However, a game could well be penned in once replays have taken place this week and the second qualifying round draw is finalised, with trips to Whitby Town and Stourbridge still to be found a new date following previous postponements.
The visit of Blyth Spartans on Monday, November 17 has been put back one week due to Spartans’ participation the Northumberland County Cup.