Garstang boss Richard Cookney took the positives from Monday night’s Macron Cup loss at Maine Road.
The match, played at the third time of asking, saw the Riversiders beaten 2-0 thanks to goals in each half from Owen Pollitt.
Garstang had gone into the game on the back of an impressive 5-1 win at St Helens Town but Cookney was forced into changes on Monday.
“We had a quite a few missing with injuries,” he explained.
“With our two centre-backs, one was working and the other was cup-tied, but it was an opportunity to give minutes to other lads who needed a game.
“We made sure we pushed them and got a full game out of them but it was a team that hasn’t played together much.
“Maine Road are a very good side, one of the best footballing sides I’ve seen against us.
“However, our lads did well and they have given me something to think about because I felt we could have taken the game to penalties.
“Ric Coar missed a header from three or four yards and we had multiple other opportunities to score.
“Saying that, Kitch (Will Kitchen) kept us in the game at times with a few saves but I was happy with the performance.”
It means Cookney has plenty to ponder going into the Christmas period.
First up for the Riversiders is a home game against Lower Breck on Saturday, followed by AFC Blackpool’s visit on Boxing Day.
“I’m really looking forward to the Lower Breck game but I have a few decisions to make on the team,” Cookney said.
“We’ve made a few signings this season and I’m really happy with what I’ve got to choose from.”