Brackley Town captain Ryan Austin was disappointed after the club’s FA Cup run ended at Macclesfield but said they must now take the positives and concentrate on gaining promotion from the Conference North.
Saints produced a spirited display at the Moss Rose stadium, coming from two goals down to almost force a replay, but Macclesfield secured progress with a late winner to finally end Brackley’s third round dream.
Austin said afterwards: “I’m obviously disappointed. I think first half, to a man, we have to hold our hands up and say we weren’t good enough, to be honest. We’ve been doing that a lot lately - we haven’t started games well and when we go 1-0 down it sort of kickstarts us , but you can’t do that against better opposition.”
Macclesfield had appeared on course for a comfortable victory having led 2-0 at the hour-mark, but a double substitution and a change of shape saw Brackley fightback in a thrilling and frenetic second half.
The Saints skipper added: “It’s never a good thing when you go 2-0 down in a cup game but I had belief in the lads up front and the team. I know we’ve got great team spirit, it was never an option to roll over and get beat by five or six.
“I honestly believe when we got the first goal that we would get the second and I had every confidence that we would hold on for a draw, or even nick it, but it wasn’t to be.
“We have to take the positives from the second half. We outplayed Gillingham over two games and parts of the game today we’ve more than held our own against Macclesfield. Over the course of the game, they were probably the better side to be fair but we have to take positives and take that into the league.
“Obviously it’s a great achievement for the club and all the players and management staff to get this far. We have to take great belief from that and perhaps when we’re in a bad spot we can look back for inspiration from Gillingham and take that into the league.”
Brackley are firmly in contention for promotion this season, particularly after all their rivals dropped points at the weekend, and Jon Brady’s side could go top with a win at Gainsborough Trinity on Tuesday evening.
“We have another big game on Tuesday night and they come thick and fast,” added Austin. “Perhaps now we can put full concentration into winning the league, that was the main objective at the start of the season, so we can now concentrate on that.
“Promotion is definitely the main aim. We have a big game tomorrow and perhaps that’s a good thing for us because we can’t dwell on what’s happened today for too long.
“We can take the positives and take it into Tuesday at Gainsborough, hopefully get the three points and kick on in the league.”