Graham Rix reflected on AFC Portchester’s FA Cup exit at Cirencester Town and insisted: It’s a reality check.
Lee Smith netted two superb, long-distance strikes either side of the interval to give the hosts a 2-0 victory and a place in the draw for third round qualifying.
Horrific injuries to Josh Maddison and Liam Crosswell – both requiring hospital treatment – inside the first four minutes rocked the visitors.
From then on, they lacked the firepower to slay the Centurions.
Boss Rix said: ‘We must learn from the result, where we went wrong, put it right and move on. In a way it was a reality check.
‘They were more aware, stronger and scored two very good goals that weren’t defendable in any way, shape or form.
‘I promise you, it’s not the first time I’ve travelled home on a team bus feeling gutted about losing a match.
‘But this time my only concern was for the welfare of Josh and Liam.
‘To find ourselves having to make a double substitution so early on because of frightening injuries wrecked our plans to deal with their main threat.
‘We didn’t live up to our true potential, though.
‘And that’s disappointing and something we need to put right.’
Maddison had been given a man-marking job on Smith – after Portchester scout Mick Marsh had picked the Cirencester striker out as a danger man.
So he was sorely missed after suffering a head injury.
But while Maddison returned – complete with 14 stitches – in time for the team bus, Crosswell was kept in hospital overnight after sever facial injuries following a clash with Centurions’ defender Shayne Anson.
Anson inexplicably escaped with just a booking as Portchester’s Cup dreams ended with little more than a wayward shot from Simon Woods to show for it.
AFC PORTCHESTER: Hutchings, Maddison, Stone, Stockford, Audin, Moody, Castles, Bye, Musselwhite, Kirby, Croswell. Subs: Woods, Pottage, Holmes, Thompson, Webb, Pople