DEEPING RANGERS 0 LEEK TOWN 2 (Haddrell 14, Gibson 77): CUP kings Deeping were finally knocked out of the FA Cup as they failed to take a third Evo-Stik League scalp in succession.
Goals from Matt Haddrell and Deven Gibson earned higher-graded Leek the spoils at Outgang Road on Saturday.
Reaching the second qualifying round represents Deeping’s best-ever run in the competition.
But Rangers player/boss Tuncay Korkmaz felt there was little between the two sides – and was understandably disappointed to see the record breaking run come to an end.
He said: “I felt this was a winnable tie before the game – and nothing I saw on Saturday changed my mind.
“The game was very even, but unfortunately they were a little more clinical, even if both goals were poor from our point of view.
“Obviously we weren’t going to win the competition, but I never like losing football matches. It would have been nice to win one more game.”
After disposing of UCL rivals Spalding United and Evo-Stik sides Belper Town and New Mills, hopes were high at Outgang Road.
A bumper crowd of 225 turned up for the clash.
But a mistake by home stopper James Doughty gifted Leek striker Haddrell a 14th-minute opener, before Gibson doubled the advantage with a looping strike in the closing stages.
Rangers – who have played fewer games than everyone else in the UCL Premier Division – return to league action at Outgang Road against King’s Lynn Town tonight (7.45pm).
Last season Deeping handed the Linnets a shock 2-1 reverse in a fiery fixture – and Korkmaz can’t wait to get back to the bread and butter of league football.
He said: “There’s no better game in the UCL than King’s Lynn.
“Playing in the cups is nice, but it’ll be good to get back to league action. We’ve got some catching up to do.”
Deeping are still without skipper Adam Weston, who is sidelined for up to six weeks with a fractured cheekbone, but have no fresh injury concerns.
Deeping: Doughty, Evans, Jackson, K Jones, Julian, Burton-Jones, Heron (Tinkler), Gilbert, Moreman, Battersby, M Jones. Not used: Cox, Fenton, Oliver, Korkmaz.
• Tonight – Deeping v King’s Lynn (7.45pm); Sat – Deeping v Northampton Spencer (3pm).