Port Vale manager Micky Adams cut a disappointed figure after watching his side throw away a commanding lead against Carlisle before going on to exit the Johnstone`s Paint Trophy on penalties.
Vale looked to be heading through to the regional quarter-finals as they held a 2-0 lead with 14 minutes remaining. But Carlisle scored twice late to take the tie to a shootout, where goalkeeper Adam Collin saved from Tommy Fraser and Louis Dodds to leave Frank Simek to fire home the decisive kick.
Adams said: "We managed to lose a game we really should have won. Of course we are disappointed because I thought we came here and played a good side and showed our quality as well."
The Valiants boss, however, refused to blame the seven changes he made to his side, adding: "Sometimes it's just an excuse for people. We haven't seen it through. Games are about 90 minutes. Some of our players have not played first-team games for a while and maybe in the last 10 minutes it took it out of them.
"From an attacking point of view, Marc Richards tore their two centre-halves apart which is probably why Carlisle wanted to sign him in the summer."
Adams added: "Penalty shootouts can be notoriously farcical at times but the fact remains we should have won the game."