MARTIN Rowe credited Brackley's greater fitness and quality for their defeat of Gresley in Tuesday night's FA Cup tie.
The Moatmen lost 1-0 to the Conference North side in the second qualifying round replay at the Moat Ground.
"We got so close but I think they deserved it on the night," said Gresley boss Rowe.
"They just had that bit of quality and were slightly fitter than us.
"Having another game on a Tuesday may have told, plus we couldn't change things tonight and bring fresh players in, but you can't knock us -we've done well and we've just got to keep going now."
Gresley, who play two steps lower than Brackley on the non-league pyramid, stuck to their task but could not find the equaliser, being denied what looked a clear penalty in the closing stages for a handball.
"We chucked everything at them for the final five or 10 minutes," said Rowe. "The players and the supporters thought there was a hand ball in the area and everyone appealed.
"How come the referee never saw it when everybody else did?
"At the end we went three at the back and went for it, but unfortunately when we did get the ball into wide areas we didn't deliver.
"We had players waiting in there but we just couldn't get it past that first man - but they did work hard to close us down."
A strike just before the hour from Brett Solkhon shattered Gresley's hopes of a cup run.
After a brave but deserved draw at St James on Saturday, hopes had been high that the Moatmen could pull off a shock at home but Brackley failed to read the script and arguably deserved their narrow victory and the right to play Boston United in the next round.
With just one change to the starting XI from Saturday, with Mitch Hanson replacing Matt Roome, Gresley were again under pressure from the off, with Izak Reid firing straight at Ross Etheridge.
A free kick from the right by Marc Goodfellow - who netted Gresley's leveller in Saturday's first tie - almost resulted in a goal when the ball was fired in at Brackley keeper Billy Turley, who made the save without knowing anything about it.
Brackley hit back and Etheridge needed to be alert as he pushed a shot from Charlie Griffin around the far post.
It was then Gresley's turn to go close with a good move. Kieran O'Connell made a good run through the middle before picking Goodfellow out to his left and the result was a curling shot that flew past the far post by a mere fraction.
The second half started with Brackley pressing forward and they took the lead on 58 minutes.
A superb shot from Eddie Nisevic hit the underside of the bar and bounced out.
There then appeared to be a foul on the Gresley defender before Solkhon hammered the ball past Etheridge.
Brackley should have doubled their lead not long after when a cross from Nisevic found Griffin unmarked, but he planted his header wide of the far post.
Gresley almost gifted Brackley a goal when Marc Strzyzewski headed just wide.
The corner was swung into the area and a Gresley miskick saw the ball fly up nicely for Griffin, who again failed to take advantage, this time skying his shot well over the bar from close in.
Brackley substitute Gary Mulligan fired wide but Gresley threw the kitchen sink at the visitors for the final 10 minutes and could have snatched a goal to take the tie into extra-time.
On 90 minutes, Eric Graves had the goal in his sights but lifted his shot from the edge of the area over the bar.
GOAL: Solkhon 58 (Brackley).
GRESLEY: Etheridge, Hanson (Johns 78), Guy, Strzyzewski, Barrett (capt), Grice, Graves, Jepson (Lyons 70), Oliver (Nadat 61), O'Connell, Goodfellow. Subs not used: Townsend (gk), Withers, H Austin, Harrison.
BRACKLEY: Turley, Nisevic, McDonald, Towers, Sharpe, R Austin (capt), Reid, Solkhon (Sandy 81), Griffin (Diggin 75), Kaziboni, Walker. Subs not used: Worby (gk), Story, Jarvis, Mulligan.
REFEREE: J Brooks (Melton Mowbray).