Disappointed boss Lee Sinnott has challenged his Gainsborough Trinity players to bounce back from their FA Cup exit by strengthening a bid to return to the National League.
Trinity surrendered a deserved early lead to lose 2-1 to Blyth Spartans in the FA Cup Third Qualifying Round.
Spartans struck twice just before half-time and Trinity rarely threatened to force a replay.
Sinnott said: “I expect a reaction. The players need to watch the highlights to digest what has caused us harm.
“It is a long season and we have to show mental strength.
“It has been a lesson for us and I have challenged the players.
“We want points as we have aspirations in the league.”
Sinnott admitted the ten minutes before half-time changed the cup tie.
“We did not look like scoring in the second half, which was puzzling after the start we made,” he said. “It is a disappointing way to go out.
“The performance in the first 20 minutes on a different day could have (earned) a very healthy scoreline that would have been extremely hard to come back from, but we did not capitalise on that and then we got caught.
“Their first goal was gift. There was a parting of the red sea (the defence) in an area where it should never part. That gave them a lift.
“We were rocked like from a sucker punch after we had been flying for the 20 minutes.
“We were kept at arms length in the second half and did not get the ball down and play. We did not do enough to stay in the cup.”
Trinity took an early lead when Shane Clarke twisted past a defender at a free kick and fired home.
But they failed to add a second goal and Spartans levelled, against the run of play, when Robbie Dale’s long ball was converted by Sean Reid.
Dale had earlier struck the post, but he made no mistake two minutes before half-time as he scored the winner from the penalty spot.