JOINT-BOSS Wayne Oliver could not fault the effort of his players as Droitwich Spa bowed out of the FA Vase at the hands of higher-ranked Coventry United.
The Saltmen had taken the lead after 52 minutes through James Lemon but three goals in the space of 20 minutes put the Midland League Premier Division visitors in control.
Ryan Palmer, Kyle Carey and Shaquille McDonald were on target before Lemon netted from close range to set up a tense finale.
However, Curvin Ellis struck five minutes from time to give United a 4-2 lead and a place in the second qualifying round.
Despite the defeat, Oliver was pleased with the performance.
“We were delighted with the effort shown from the lads as they did everything we asked of them,” he said.
“A few subs from them changed the game in the end as tired legs and tired minds got the better of us.
“But that apart, I thought we gave a really good account of ourselves with such a brilliant effort over the 90 minutes.”
Spa turn their attentions back to West Midlands (Regional) League Division One on Saturday when they make the trip to last year’s runners-up Newport Town.
And Oliver believes the Shropshire outfit, currently managed by former Wolverhampton Wanderers striker Adam Proudlock, will be a force again this year.
“From what we’ve heard on the grapevine, they are favourites for the league,” said Oliver, who will have the returning Mike Seeley, Matt Hunt and Mark Burrows at his disposal.
“In that sense we are pleased we can get the away fixture out the way early doors.”