Accrington Stanley manager John Coleman hailed his sides performance away at Middlesbrough but admitted he was still “disappointed to lose” in the FA Cup.
Stanley, who sit 20th in League Two, held their Premier League hosts for 70 minutes in a competitive cup tie, before Stewart Downing’s stunning strike finally broke the deadlock at the Riverside.
After the match, Coleman insisted that his players should be encouraged after only losing to a “wonder goal”, however he couldn’t help but think about what could have been.
"Middlesbrough played a strong side"
“We're unfortunate that out of all Premier League teams playing this week, Middlesbrough probably picked strongest side they had available,” said the Stanley boss.
“To only go down to a wonder goal is a good testament to how well our lads played,” he added.
“Of course, we are disappointed losing we don’t want to be plucky losers, we came here with a game plan of trying to win the game and we created three or four good chances.”
Stanley had chances late on
The visitors’ best chance arguably fell to Sean McConville in the final few minutes, when the Stanley midfielder briefly hesitated before heading a tame effort wide of the post.
"It just caught him between two stools whether to go for header or volley," said Coleman on the miss.
He also referred to another incident when defender Janoi Donacien could have gone down inside the penalty area but stayed on his feet after charging forward from full back.
“It’s probably refreshingly honest but if he had been a streetwise centre-forward instead of a hungry right-back, he’d have gone down late on and the referee would have had to give a penalty,” claimed Coleman.
A replay would have been huge
The Stanley manager didn’t begrudge his side’s defeat, but did admit that a reply would have been huge for the club.
“We have to remember that Middlesbrough had a few chances themselves,” confessed Coleman.
“To only lose 1-0 we haven’t embarrassed ourselves but a replay would have meant a lot,” he added.
“I know it’s probably the last thing that Middlesbrough needed but a replay would have been a God-send for us.The finances of a big game like that would have enhanced our chances for what we do next year,” concluded Coleman.