Miguel Llera felt Walsall were hard done by in their 2-1 defeat to Rushall Olympic on Tuesday night.
Llera took a young Saddlers team to Dales Lane for their Birmingham Senior Cup tie which saw Sam Whittall give the hosts a second half lead before Luke Pearce equalised for Walsall.
The Pics had the final say though as Jon Letford netted a 93rd minute winner.
Llera was proud of his team and felt the late goal was harsh on the Saddlers.
“It was pretty cruel on the lads because they did brilliant,” Llera said.
“We conceded the second goal 30 seconds before the game was over.
We had really good chances, one-to-one situations and they cleared one off the line but we have to take the positives out of the game.
“We’re disappointed but it’s a great competition for the lads to play in as they’re competing against adults.
“It’s men’s football. If they want to play in the First Team then they have to deal with that situation.
“When we go to places like Rushall we have to defend a lot of set pieces, long throw-ins and corners but the lads did really well. We conceded a goal from a set piece but we had to defend a lot.
“The lads also played really good football and created a lot of chances and they gave everything that they had.”
It was a youthful line-up that faced Rushall but Llera’s side didn’t look out of place and their performance earned praise from their opponents.
“We had some great feedback from Rushall’s Chairman who was impressed with the lads,” he revealed.
“We played with a really young team that included a 16-year-old and a 15-year-old.
“Tom Leak had a really good game, Luke scored a top class goal after a great pass from Perry Moss so it was a good performance from the lads.”
The Under 18s have had a lot of postponements in recent weeks but they’re set to get back on the pitch this weekend against Grimsby Town in the Youth Alliance Cup.
He’s looking forward to getting the lads back on the pitch on Saturday after what’s been a fruitful week for a lot of the lads.
“Hopefully we can play more games now before the Christmas break with a re-arranged game against Grimsby,” he commented.
“We also had five players train with the First Team, this was a great opportunity for them to impress the First Team coaching staff. The gaffer and his staff are really helping and making my job easier because we know we have their support and they’re looking to show a pathway for the Youth Team lads.”
Rogerson, Foulkes, Lynch, Leak, Perry, Trialist, Campbell, Moss, John, Willis, McSkeane.
Subs - Jackson, Sarvari, Friel, Pierce, Coogan