BUXTON FC manager Martin McIntosh said he was proud of his players after they pushed non-league big guns Grimsby Town all the way in their FA Carlsberg Trophy First Round Proper replay at the Silverlands on Wednesday evening.
Ian Millers’s late header finally breached a stubborn Bucks rearguard that had frustrated the Blue Square Bet Premier leaders for nearly 180 minutes of football over the course of the two cup fixtures.
Speaking after Wednesday night’s 1-0 defeat, McIntosh said: “I’m proud of the lads, but to be honest with you we never really looked like scoring in the second half. We had one or two decent areas but we didn’t really look like scoring.
“Perhaps if Mark Reed had been fit we might have asked more questions of them, but that’s no disrespect to the lads who came in because I think everyone put in a great shift. I just think they had that little bit of extra quality up front, and with Reed and Kallum Keane injured we were down to the bare bones and you could see we looked leggy towards the end.
“Had it gone to extra time, did we have the legs in us to go and win the game in extra time? That’s debatable, and perhaps when Michael Towey’s header didn’t go in on Saturday that was our chance.
“All credit to Grimsby. They hung in there tonight and good luck to them in the next round. Their managers are ex-team-mates of mine and I hope they go on and win the competition, fair play to them.”
And despite the disappointment of exiting the cup, McIntosh said there was still positives to take away from their performances in the FA competitions this season: “That’s us played ten games in cup competitions, which is an awful lot. I think we will look back on this year and say it has been a fantastic season in terms of the cup runs.
“And we told the players tonight, after competing with teams at the top of the Conference we can compete with anyone in our league.”
It is the league that McIntosh’s men turn their attentions back to on Saturday when they welcome Chorley to the Silverlands (kick-off 3pm), before travelling to Stafford Rangers the following Tuesday (kick-off 7.45pm).
“We just have to see how the wounded are, but we will get on with it and we’ll put out a side that will be able to compete with Chorley,” he added.