Stevenage boss Gary Smith conceded his side were second best against Preston but refused to dwell on the disappointment.
Stevenage boss Gary Smith conceded his side were second best against Preston but refused to dwell on the disappointment after the 4-1 home defeat.
Stuart Beavon put the Lilywhites ahead early on, and though Greg Tansey levelled matters, strikes from Jack King, Jeffrey Monakana and Nicky Wroe secured a 4-1 victory for the visitors.
"We didn't take Preston lightly at all and I thought the opening exchanges were really competitive," he said. "The first two goals were avoidable from our standpoint, though I'm sure Graham [Westley, Preston manager] will be saying they were well carved out.
"The first half was really competitive. We looked bright, with a couple of bodies up front who were showing some real energy and quality, but the third goal is a bit of a kick in the teeth. And in truth, given what we were creating chance in the second half, it was probably lights out at that stage.
"I thought there was a lot to play for in the second half. We felt the 2-1 scoreline didn't really reflect the way the game had gone.
"We've been absolutely terrific, expectations have risen massively and everyone expects to us win, or at least perform well. But this time we've come unstuck."