BRIDPORT boss Adam Fricker felt St Albans were “panicking” as the Bees piled on late pressure in their 2-1 FA Cup third qualifying round defeat at Clarence Park.

The National League South side had taken a 2-0 lead courtesy of Shaun Lucien and Percy Kiangebeni goals, but a Leigh Bailey strike early in the second half encouraged Bridport forward.

And the Bees, ranked three divisions below their opponents in the Toolstation Western Premier Division, saw Mark Salter and Oscar Latas spurn late opportunities to equalise.

Speaking to Echosport, Fricker believed the loss felt “a bit like a win”.

He said: “We ran them close, certainly in the second half. First half they were strong like we thought, with great quality on the ball. We had to ride our luck a little bit.

“When we got the goal back it rocked them and they were panicking, we had chances to equalise to be fair.

“Salts had a header at the back post which they defended well. The clearest chance we had was about 10 minutes to go. Ed Butcher ran at the heart of their defence and Oscar scuffed his shot from eight yards.

“They’re a good side. For us to go up there and only lose 2-1 it feels in a way a bit like a win. It’s fantastic, they’ve done themselves proud in every single game.

“For the lads to do what they’ve achieved is fantastic and certainly not what we expected.”

Fricker was also pleased to give something back to both the supporters and the club officials behind the scenes that work “tirelessly”, with the club earning £10,425 in prize money from their cup run.

He said: “The supporters were fantastic. We had fans come up on the coach with us, quite a few travelled separately. They were great from start to finish.

“They have been throughout the whole of the run. I hope they continue to support us and we can give them something to support from our perspective.

“Financially every single bit we can get for the club goes a long way. We’ll pick up half the gate from Saturday too.

“It’s fantastic because at our level it’s very difficult and the people behind the scenes work tirelessly to get that money. It’s nice for us to give something back to them.”

Bridport return to league action tomorrow when they face Shepton Mallet at St Mary’s Field (7.45pm).