Town manager Andrew Westgarth was in philosophical mood following the Walter C Parson League Cup third round exit at the hands of Okehampton Argyle on Saturday.
The 2018 champions and beaten finalists in 2019, who had Andreas Calleja-Stayne sent off in the second half, were dumped out of the competition by the South West Peninsula League Premier East leaders thanks to goals from Ben Bickle and Harvey Newman at Simmons Park.
Bickle opened the scoring for the Okes in the fifth minute when he got ahead of James Ward to turn Luke Mortimore’s cross past Town gloveman Ryan Barnes.
Barnes prevented his side from falling further behind before the break with an excellent stop to keep the score at 1-0, but the hosts doubled their advantage seven minutes into the second stanza when Newman headed home from Luke Alden’s free-kick.
The afternoon went from bad to worse for the off-colour Town side – who were joined in Devon by several of their vocal supporters – when Calleja-Stayne was given his marching orders for an off-the-ball incident late in the game.
Okehampton will now head to St Blazey in next month’s quarter-finals, while Town will focus firmly on their league campaign, which sees them top the west division table with 18 wins from 18 matches, as well as their Cornwall Senior Cup semi-final against Dobwalls in March.
“We got what we deserved,” Westgarth admitted after the game. “We weren’t good enough on the day. Too many of the lads didn’t turn up unfortunately, and you’ve got to say all credit to Okehampton.
“It’s one of those days. In the first half we did all right, we huffed and puffed and had a few chances, they had a few chances, but in the second half it was like watching a different team. We’re not going to win games of football with the amount of times we gave the ball away.
“It was so uncharacteristic of us, but I suppose at some point in the season it was going to happen that we were going to have a really bad game, because I still thought in the Buckland game [2-1 defeat in the FA Vase, Town’s only other loss this season] we played quite well. Whereas yesterday [Saturday] I don’t think we did ourselves any credit.
“That being said, I was quite impressed with them. It’s easy to say that we were this, we were that, but full credit to them. Defensively, they were solid. I think we only had a handful of chances, and half-chances at that. I thought their front three were lively, I thought their number nine [Bickle] was very good and was surprised when he came off.”
He added: “It’s disappointing as well to lose Andreas for the red card. Not only do you lose and you’re out of the cup, but you lose a player for three games.
“It’s just a bad day at the office, that’s all I can put it down to. It’s not as if it’s been coming, it’s not as if we’ve been poor, we’ve been really, really good, but it happens.”