Billy Heath felt Matlock Town deserved their Derbyshire Senior Cup win on Tuesday night as holders Alfreton fell to a 3-1 defeat.
Dom Smith’s late consolation goal wasn’t enough for the Reds as their BetVictor NPL opponents enjoyed the better of the game throughout.
And that left Alfreton boss Heath unhappy with what he’d seen.
He said: “We are bitterly disappointed to say the least. The first half was as poor as we've played since l've been at the club - it was not good enough by a long way.
“The standards that we try to set, and first and foremost about everybody working hard, were non-existent.
“The first two goals were cheap. We had to change our shape because we were getting over-run, which should never happen. Like I say I’m just so disappointed as the first 45 minutes is not what we are about at all.
"Matlock deserved their win. They worked hard and outworked people, they wanted it more, it was a big cup game for them and it should have been for us.
“It was an opportunity to progress. We shuffled the pack a little bit to protect one or two people, but we weren't good enough all over.
“We got 50 minutes out of Josh Wilde and we knew this would be his comeback game. He'll be stiff and sore in the morning, having been out injured for such a long time, but that's probably the only positive to take out of the night.”
Alfreton now prepare for a run of three straight home games as they aim to stave off any relegation worries as well as climb back towards the play-off places.
They’ll welcome Gateshead to the Impact Arena on Saturday, their opponents currently lying eighth in the National League North, before struggling Gloucester City are the visitors on Tuesday night.
They then take on Hereford, currently sitting just one place below Alfreton in the league in 16th place, on Saturday, February 1.
Heath said: "As for moving forward we've got to show some real grit and determination and some real back-bone, because we've got three big home games coming up.
“We've got to show desire to get three points.”