Northwood manager Dean Barker remains upbeat ahead of an FA Cup First Qualifying Round tie with Kings Langley, despite witnessing his side succumb to a second consecutive Bostik League South Central defeat on Saturday.

The Woods were looking to respond after losing their 100 per cent record following defeat against Uxbridge, but they were on the end of a 2-0 reverse at home to Waltham Abbey in a scrappy, stop-start encounter at Chestnut Avenue as goals in each half from Ronnie Winn and Charlie Stimson proved decisive.

Barker believes his side simply came up a little short on the day against an experienced side with plenty of know-how from higher levels.

Several of Abbey’s side, for example, plied their trade under Mark Stimson at Thurrock in the Bostik Premier Division a season ago, and the Woods boss reckons they will be firmly in the hunt for promotion at the end of the campaign.

However he was left frustrated after insisting his side were denied a stonewall penalty for handball in the second half, a decision that would have big consequences as the game was only 1-0 at the time.

“I think the game lacked a lot of quality, to be honest. It wasn’t a great game for the neutral,” Barker said.

“They just showed their experience, they were very clever. I thought we should have had a blatant penalty at 1-0 when their centre back caught it in the box.

“That might have changed the game if we had scored that, but overall we’re a very young side and they had a lot of experience and that told in the end.

“Waltham Abbey played well and I’d expect them to be pushing for promotion at the end of the season.”

Northwood lacked a punch without the presence of regular number nine Ben Pattie, who the club fear might have a possible hernia, with James Ewington kept uncharacteristically quiet without his strike partner in tow.

“We missed some big players – we were missing Carl Pearce, Ben Pattie, Kweku [Conrad-Lucan], Eman [Rowe] and there is probably three or four that I’ve missed as well,” Barker said.

“We’ve lost two games of football and with all the pre-season ones included we’ve won 10 of 14, so it’s not a disaster. The players gave me 100 per cent and I can’t fault their effort.”

The Woods’ next assignment is an all local affair at home to Kings Langley on Saturday in the FA Cup with £6,000 up for grabs for the winners.

Barker is relishing the challenge despite admitting his young side go into the game at Northwood Park as underdogs, where the list of absentees will, at the very least, include on-loan Kings defender Sam Tring and Wealdstone loanee Jerome Slew.

“Obviously we are the underdogs,” Barker said. “Kings Langley are expected to beat us, being a step three team, so it’s a free hit at the FA Cup. We’ll train well this week and try and put in a big performance on Saturday.”