Mark West praised his side’s performance as 10-man Thame United went down 2-0 to Oxford United.
Oxford’s Aidan Hawtin scored a goal in each half at the ASM on Tuesday while Thame lost midfielder Ollie Lynch after just 25 minutes.
But the United boss was able to draw positives from their display despite crashing out of the Oxford Senior Cup at the quarter-final stage.
West said: “The lads did very well, it was a team effort but with 10 men it was difficult to get players forward.”
Oxford, who are currently third in League Two ahead of sides such as 2008 FA Cup winners Portsmouth, fielded a number of experienced players including Aylesbury-boy Scott Davies.
But Thame held their own against their opponents from five tiers higher and almost sneaked a goal but the post denied them.
Lynch’s dismissal after just 25 minutes for a challenge on the visitors’ goalkeeper frustrated the United boss.
West said: “I thought it was harsh and I spoke to their manager who said he didn’t think it was a sending off either.
“We defended really well but they’re quality players.
“We hit the post and they only had one proper shot in the first half and it went in!”
West welcomes new signing Marcus Mealing into the squad for Saturday’s home fixture with Brimscombe & Thrupp (3pm KO).
United defeated their visitors 4-2 in August and West is expecting more of the same.
He said: “They’re a team who will score a goal but will also let one in.
“So if it gets the go-ahead, I am expecting goals. But we need to create chances and then take them as that has been our problem in recent weeks.”