Whitby Town threw away a two-goal half-time lead as they were held to a 3-3 draw by Winsford United in the first qualifying round of the FA Cup.
And Blues manager Chris Hardy said that he was “disappointed” with his side’s failure to see off their opponents, who play their football two divisions below the Seasiders.
“We were cruising at 2-0 up at half-time and also well beyond that point, so ‘disappointed’ is definitely the word I would use in reflection,” Hardy said.
“I think that we’ve dominated the game and controlled it for large parts. Unfortunately we’ve conceded some soft goals and as a result we now face a difficult trip to Winsford for the replay on Monday night.
“We missed a good one-on-one chance at 2-0 which would have killed the game off. Then individual errors and a lack of concentration have allowed them to pull it back to 2-2.
“At 3-2 I thought we’d done enough, but they’ve scored a worldy near the end. When you only have a one-goal lead, you’re always vulnerable to that kind of thing.”
Matty Tymon headed in a Callum Martin cross after 33 minutes to hand the Blues the lead before Steven Snaith added a second just a few minutes before the break.
Two goals in as many minutes from James Rothwell and Kyle Riley saw the North West Counties League visitors draw level, but parity was shortlived as Tymon notched again for Whitby on the hour-mark.
A stunning 75th-minute strike from Nathan Cotterill then tied things up once again and set up Monday’s replay in Cheshire.
“It’s not ideal having to play twice in 48 hours and travel all that way on a Monday night, but that’s our punishment for not finishing the job on Saturday,” Hardy added.
“As a group we need to be better and need to produce a more polished display.
“We know what to expect to from Winsford and we know that we could have been five or six goals up before they scored on Saturday, so we go there as favourites.
“But it’s a bit of a trip into the unknown and we I’m sure it won’t be easy.”
Reserve goalkeeper James Dawson and midfielder Cameron Park are unavailable for the replay, but Hardy expects the Blues to otherwise be at full-strength.
Kick-off at Barton Stadium is at 7.45pm.