Mansfield Town manager John Dempster admitted his side had fallen short as they crashed out of the Carabao Cup on penalties to 10-men Morecambe tonight.
Dempster made five changes, but is still left looking for his first win as a manager after they twice had to come from behind against a battling Shrimps, who were down to 10 men for 68 minutes of the game, before losing the shoot-out 6-5.
“I am gutted we are not in the next round,” he said.
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“We worked hard to get back in the game but when you concede as easily as we did from set plays it’s always going to be a struggle.
“I think the boys tried but you have got to be ruthless and we were not good enough defending basic set plays in our box, which is tactical – knowing your job.
“They all have jobs to do. It’s also psychological. Have you got the will to go and head the ball away before the opposition? We lacked that for the two goals.”
Dempster continued: “I thought the supporters were good tonight.
“There were a few moans and groans as we had to be patient and move the ball to create chances as, after the sending-off, Morecambe parked the bus – and rightly so. They put their bodies on the line to defend and we came up short.
“It wasn’t for the want of trying but, in the business we’re in, that’s not good enough. You have to step up to the mark.”
Despite the disappointment, there were some positives for the manager to take away.
“The Chief (Krystian Pearce) stepped up to score his goal and I was really pleased to see Omari (Sterling-James) come off the bench to score,” he said,.
“He has been training brilliantly and he made an impact straight away.
“We picked a team we though could beat Morecambe and progress and managed to get some players some game time who needed it.
“I thought young Alistair Smith did well tonight in a pressure cooker game. For a young player he stepped up and was brave enough to get on the ball – and he was also brave enough to take a penalty.
“The penalties were a rollercoaster. There were some good penalties and some bad ones.
“The players practice penalties every day and yesterday was no different. You want players with the character to step up and those who did were brave enough to do so.”
Dempster said some of the side had enhanced their claims for a shirt at Carlisle on Saturday while others had done themselves no favours.
“They were all assessed - some from a positive point of view and some from a negative,” he said.