Honest Worksop Town boss Kyle Jordan admitted his players could have done better as they progressed in the FA Trophy after surviving a later score to beat Kendal Town 2-1.
The home win marked the Tigers return to the competition for the first time since the 2013-14 season.
After a goalless first half they were given the perfect start to the second period when Connor Brunt converted a 56th minute free kick from a central position.
Six minutes later Kieran Maguire put a Lynton Karkach free kick through his own goal.
But their hopes of a comfortable passage to the next round were hit by a Lewis Wainright finish four minutes from time.
That led to a frantic finish, but the Tigers survived.
Jordan said at the final whistle: “I didn’t think we were really at it today, we were a bit poor really.
“The quality on the ball wasn’t there. Sometimes you need someone to stick one in the top corner or an own goal to go in, and that’s what happened.
“We were better in the second half (after a switch to 4-3-3) and it is good to have that flexibility.
“I wanted to get some more width and pace up there.”
Ironically Jordan had been planning to replace Brunt, who struck the breakthrough goal with a fine finish into the top corner, just before he scored.
The manager also praised the younger players who have come into the squad in recent weeks.
“It is hugely important if we have lads in the under-21s who can step up,” Jordan added.