Exeter manager Matt Taylor could not hide his frustration as he felt his side passed up a glorious chance to reach the fourth round of the FA Cup after a 2-0 home defeat to Sheffield Wednesday.
The Sky Bet Championship strugglers arrived in Devon amid a coronavirus outbreak within their ranks but they were still able to field a string team and won through with goals in each half from Adam Reach and Callum Paterson.
But Taylor was disappointed with the performance of his League Two side, who have not reached round four since 1981, saying: “I am really disappointed because it is a missed opportunity.
“We spoke before the game about what a fantastic opportunity it was for this club and this group of players, but we just didn’t have quite enough today.
“We didn’t work as hard as the game went on and we became disappointed with ourselves, disappointed with our mistakes. If you don’t want to make mistakes, then play better than we did at times today.
“We got into some great positions but how many times have I said it this season where we have conceded the first goal and it has knocked us right back?
“We played well in patches, but I am disappointed with the nature of the personalities of that group of players as the game went on.
“We were playing against a Championship team, and getting on each other’s backs, and getting frustrated with their own game and there was no reason to be.
“We made too many unforced errors and didn’t use the ball well enough. They were there for the taking and how many times has our goalkeeper had a shot to save? I don’t think he has and I am sick of saying it.
“If I am being critical, Lewis (Ward) should have saved the first goal and the two centre-halves were incredibly poor in that first moment by being beaten with a ball over the top.
“But that’s where we are at the moment and it is my job to do something about it.”
Wednesday, who only named four substitutes for the game, were managed by Andy Holdsworth, who praised a professional job done by the Owls.
“The lads have been professional in everything they have done today. The remit was to get through to the next round, and we have done that,” he said.
“The commitment, desire and the work ethic of the lads to go and win the game was pleasing. It was a professional performance from the lads and they deserve everything they have got.
“We wanted to keep the momentum going as well. Neil (Thompson) has come and done really well in the last three performances and got the points. Winning games breeds confidence in players and is what we have done today.”