IT WAS, perhaps, a rare occasion when the performance was more important than the result.
Bideford were up against 10 full-time professionals when they hosted Plymouth Argyle in the Devon St Luke's Cup on Tuesday night.
And in the end they proved too strong, moving into the quarter-finals as Isaac Vassell, Tyler Harvey and River Allen secured a 3-0 win.
But a much-changed Bideford line-up produced an energetic display to stay in contention until late in the second half.
Only four players – Steve Oliver, Rob Farkins, Sean Downing and Owen Howe – retained their place after the FA Cup exit at Yate Town on Saturday.
And those who came in prompted manager Sean Joyce to label this the best Bideford squad he has worked with.
Argyle's fringe players were hoping to stake a claim to be involved with the first team at Exeter City on Saturday but there were few standout performances.
"It was a quality team we were up against and I thought we made them look ordinary," said Joyce.
"We made them hit long balls and it was only in the last 10 minutes they wanted to prove what good players they are. They should be doing that at 0-0 against boys who have been at work all day."
Apart from the second goal, scored clinically by Harvey in the 72nd minute, Bideford will feel the other two were avoidable or unfortunate.
Vassell, who struggled to make an impact during a loan spell with Bideford last season, needed just nine minutes to mark his return. The 20-year-old found space from a Luke Young corner to plant a firm header beyond Oliver.
If Nick Barker was caught slightly off guard by Vassell's movement, the left back could be forgiven some rustiness on his first start of the season. He was one of several home players who did well with very little match practice behind them.
After impressing during pre-season, Nick Milton has had to wait on the sidelines with a broken jaw while fellow defenders Farkins, Ben Gerring and Jack Furzer have excelled in the Calor League.
Milton returned from injury with a fine display alongside Farkins, keeping Harvey and Nick Chadwick, the former Everton striker, under wraps. "He's got that calmness and quality at the back," said Joyce.
Vassell went close when his misdirected cross struck the crossbar but gradually Bideford began to threaten as Matt Bye, returning from suspension, and Steve Orchard worked hard in midfield.
When Plymouth could only half clear Orchard's corner, Hamza Bencherief was forced to block a curling effort from Ethan Phillips.
The hosts started the second half brightly with Howe having a snapshot beaten away by Jake Cole. Saul Halpin's dribbling skills then created a shooting opportunity for Orchard who drilled wide from 18 yards.
Oliver breathed a sigh of relief when his attempted clearance cannoned off Harvey and drifted wide of the empty net.
But the home keeper was beaten soon after as Argyle showed their quality with Andres Gurrieri playing a perfect pass for Harvey to slide a first-time shot into the net.
The third goal was cruel on Bideford and Oliver – a keen Exeter fan – will not have been amused to have been beaten by a massive deflection. River Allen, the only trainee in a team of professionals, let fly from long range and saw his shot loop in off Bye.