Ronnie Moore admitted the last thing he wanted for Hartlepool United was a replay.
But the boss was devastated when Pools were robbed of a trip to Pride Park a week tomorrow after Darren Bent scored an 86th-minute winner to steal a 2-1 victory in an exciting third-round tie.
Derby couldn’t have begrudged us a second go, but it did not come.
A replay would have caused the postponement of another League Two match – the re-arranged game at Accrington – but Moore explained that he would happily have done that.
“I was saying before the game in my own head, not to anyone else, ‘We don’t really want a replay here’,” said Moore.
“But when you’ve been in the game all the way through you think ‘we’ll take that now.’
“It wasn’t to be, but we deserved another crack at them.
“I can’t fault anyone, all gave everything we asked.
“The sickener was they didn’t have to work hard for their goals.
“Overall, Derby couldn’t have begrudged us a second go, but it did not come.
“But if we take that performance and quality into the League in the next few weeks we will have no worries.”
On the subject of quality, Moore was purring at Jake Gray’s goal on the hour.
“The goal we scored was fantastic,” he said. “If that had been in the Premier League, they’d be talking about it for ages.
“Woodsy made a great run and put in a fabulous cross and Jake does what he’s good at and got on the end and finished it.
“Then it was about trying to see the game out, but we let them back too early.
“There was a misunderstanding in midfield and we never cleared it and the sub [Jacob Butterfield] scored with his first touch, smashing it from 20 yards past our keeper.
“And with just a few minutes to go we have to do better with the ball in the wide area.
“It’s come into the box too easily and then a block takes the pace of the ball to give Darren Bent a chance.
“Maybe if it had just come straight across, he doesn’t score? You can’t give a striker of Bent’s quality a chance like that in the box.”