HORNDEAN exited the FA Vase with a 2-1 defeat at Hamble Club despite an early wonder goal from Miles Everett.
The impressive opener arrived after only seven minutes of the tie between the Wessex League premier division sides.
But after Everett’s goal the powerful hosts hit back to level and then snatched a 67th-minute winner.
Though his side lost, Michael Birmingham had nothing but praise for his young Horndean side.
‘We gave it a real good go and in the end it could have gone either way,’ said the Deans boss.
‘For the first 43 minutes we were in total control.
‘We had dealt with the aerial bombardment towards their big target man and were first to the second balls.
‘On a very difficult pitch we got the ball down and played some great stuff.
‘The turning point came just before half-time when a bit of inexperience allowed them to grab an equaliser.’
Everett gave Horndean the lead with a 35-yard half-volley into the top corner of the net.
The equaliser arrived on the stroke of the break.
Horndean tried a quick free-kick, lost possession, and the hosts scored on the counter-attack.
‘I am not going to knock my players for trying to take an opportunity,’ said Birmingham.
‘I am always asking them to do that.
‘With a bit more experience at that stage in the contest we might have managed it a bit better.’
In the second half Hamble Club grabbed the winning goal with a looping header which came off the striker’s shoulder.
‘My players were devastated afterwards because they gave it everything,’ added Birmingham.
‘It is disappointing because we wanted to get as far as we could in the competition.
‘Both teams should come away with great credit for their endeavour, desire and will to win.
‘We wish Hamble Club the best because they are in our league and we want to see Wessex League teams do well in the Vase.’