Steve Leigh felt nothing but pride at Baffins Milton Rovers’ display against unbeaten Wessex League premier division leaders Sholing on Wednesday.
While the PMC Stadium outfit went down 3-1, they pushed their powerful visitors all the way.
Leigh's side led 1-0 at the interval but after the break a stunning free-kick followed by two goals in three minutes killed them off.
The Baffins manager felt his side could easily have become the first team to lower Sholing’s colours in the league this season.
‘We could easily have been three goals in front at half-time,’ said Leigh.
‘A couple of glorious chances were headed wide, we hit the post and had two nailed on penalties turned down.
‘For a lot of the game we nullified them and dominated.
‘In the end we made a slight mistake and got punished for it.
‘My team were fantastic, though, and let down a bit by some poor officiating.
‘I came away proud of my team and taking lots of positives from the game.’
Leigh is developing the work put in by his predecessors that has taken Baffins from parks football to the top flight of the Wessex League in a relatively short space of time.
The club are also developing a fantastic ground on Eastern Road.
Leigh added: ‘Bringing some of the established players along with us hasn’t always been a smooth ride.
‘We are playing in a higher league and the way we approach games must reflect that.
‘Getting them to accept that has been a bit bumpy at times.
‘We have a lot of characters in the dressing room and that is great.
‘At the same time the old mentality has needed to be channelled in the right direction.
‘They have a crucial role to play in helping the youngsters develop and come through.’