Grimsby manager Ian Holloway bemoaned the fact he was limited to just three substitutions during his side’s Carabao Cup defeat to Morecambe.
The Shrimps booked their place in the second round after beating their hosts 4-3 in a penalty shoot-out, with John O’Sullivan striking the decisive spot-kick after James McKeown saw his effort saved.
Adam Phillips had earlier given the visitors the lead before Matt Green atoned for a previous miss as he levelled things for Grimsby, with neither side able to find a winner in the second half.
Holloway said: “It’s not a defeat, it’s an absolute lottery. I thought we played really well, I made some changes, I put one or two on, but I really should have been allowed to make more changes.
“Anybody with common sense, this was a pre-season match and then they moved this forward.
“I know what the competition rules normally are. It’s absolutely ridiculous, if they’d have asked us managers we’d have been able to make a couple more changes.
“It’s bitterly disappointing but when I look back at the new team I’ve managed to put together with a lot of my players out, to say I was quite pleased is an understatement.
“We let a bit of a silly goal in and then we could have been 4-1 up at half-time.
“There was some wonderful stuff, some good performances, and then the lottery of the penalties kicked in. The longer it went, the more it looked like they’d been together than us.”
For Morecambe boss Derek Adams, though, the mood was much more upbeat after seeing his side come out on top after their first game in almost half a year.
“It was a nice start for us,” Adams said. “It’s a difficult game away to Grimsby, first game of the season, it’s always a hard place to come to.
“To come through it and win, that’s what we were here to do.
“We scored a very early goal, we probably should have gone 2-0 up in the match, Cole Stockton should have gone round the goalkeeper and scored.
“Their goal put a bit of pressure on us and then we came out for the second half and were the better team in the second half.
“It’s always difficult in the first game of the season. The pitch was slow and that enabled Grimsby to have the better of the game because they were playing a long diagonal ball from both sides.
“We were trying to keep the ball on the floor and pass it but it was sticking in the surface.
“It’s been a difficult summer for us, it still is, and it’s testament to these players they’re playing.”