Petersfield Town manager Connor Hoare praised his side’s performance after they bowed out of the FA Cup in the first round qualifying stage with a 4-0 defeat at Hungerford Town on Saturday afternoon.

The Rams acquitted themselves well against their Southern League Premier opponents – who play two levels higher than Petersfield in the football pyramid.

The visitors had their best attacking spell in the opening 20 minutes. Kieran Alcock made an attacking run down the line, but his effort was blocked by the home keeper. Harrison Cable scuffed an effort wide and Matt Dougan had a free header saved.

Despite the chances the hosts remained ominous coming forward. In the 27th minute Conor McDonagh broke the deadlock. Elis Watts struggled to control the initial pass out wide, but once he did his cross found McDonagh – who was given too much time on the ball as he found the bottom corner.

Ten minutes later McDonagh doubled Hungerford’s advantage. The ball was played into his feet on the edge of the box, and he skilfully rolled the centre-back and picked his spot in the far corner.

Luke Carnell headed home from a corner just before the break to make it 3-0.

The Rams competed well in the second half, with Jack Farrier looking solid, but the fourth goal arrived in stoppage time.

“The players were an absolute credit to themselves,” said Hoare.

“We were playing a team two leagues above us, but that’s what you want in the FA Cup – you want to test yourself.

“For the first 20 minutes we were excellent. We told the players it was important not to concede in the first 20 minutes.

“We didn’t press as high as we usually do and were more compact than usual – but the players carried it out well.

“The first goal has changed the game. Conor McDonagh is a quality player – that is what you get at that level.

“They then get the second and third goal and at half-time we told the players to play our high pressing style, take chances and express themselves.

“We had nothing to lose and were really good in the second half.

“Maybe because Hungerford were 3-0 up they didn’t play at their maximum in the second half, but our lads acquitted themselves well.”

Hoare also praised the loud travelling Rams supporters for their support during the game.

“Our fans were absolutely fantastic and were applauded by the Hungerford players after the game – they are superb,” said Hoare.