LISA NIGHTINGALE admitted that Oxted Ladies weren't at their best as they were defeated on penalty flicks in the final of the Investec Women's Vase on Saturday.
The Os lost out to Guernsey 3-0 in the shootout, having drawn 1-1 in normal time, and the skipper admitted that the squad was gutted to lose out in a competition they won for the first time last season.
But she said that unlike in other rounds of the competition, the Os did not produce their best on the day at Beeston in Nottinghamshire.
She said: "It was a pretty gutting way to lose in the end, but to be fair their penalty flicks were really good.
"We didn't score any of our first three and unfortunately we didn't play our best."
Oxted did take the lead though in the first half, with Amelia Lewis finishing off a great solo run from Luji Aromando.
But Nightingale said the holders' failure to score a second proved to be a barrier, adding that while they enjoyed a lot of possession, they did not create many chances.
She said: "We did put them under pressure, but we just couldn't get another goal.
"We had a few chances, but nothing clear-cut and to be fair, we were fairly evenly matched sides.
"Maybe if we could have brought the good performances from previous games, we might have gone on to win.
"But we didn't bring our best on the day and we knew that they were a strong side."
Guernsey equalised with 15 minutes to go in the match and Nightingale admitted it would have been even more galling for the Os if they had lost the lead in the closing stages.
Instead, she said both sides had the chance to win it in normal time and a nerve-wracking period of extra-time, although neither side could convert them.
As such, the game went to the lottery that is penalty flicks and Aromando, Helen Durrans and Gemma Chicky missed for the Os while Guernsey scored three of their first four to claim victory and deny Oxted from replicating the achievements of East Grinstead – the only side to have ever won the Vase two years in a row.
But Nightingale said: "We will enter the Vase again and hopefully do well, but I think we will have to see how we are doing in the league."