The main positive from Hull City’s Papa John’s Trophy exit against Lincoln City was the performance of midfielder Greg Docherty.
Described as “immense” by Head Coach Grant McCann, the 24-year-old produced a typically dynamic display and scored a delightful individual goal.
Collecting Josh Magennis’ lay-off, the Scot drove between two Lincoln defenders and evaded a further three challenges before drilling left footed into the bottom corner from 15 yards.
“I just saw a gap and went for it,” admitted Docherty.
“With my defensive head on, I thought if someone was running at me on a night like that it would be hard to stop.
“I just kept seeing space opening up and running at that. It’s something I know I need to do more of and I’m working at it.
“As a midfielder myself, I know it’s tough when a player is running at you. I feel that is a strength of mine and I have the backing of the staff to do it more.
“It’s been a decent start to the year for me goal-wise and it’s something that I’m always looking to improve on.”
The goal was Docherty’s second in as many matches, following his emphatic close-range effort against Swindon Town on Saturday, and third since the turn of the year.
“Swindon was maybe my best performance so far here, especially with getting the winner and creating a few chances,” said Docherty.
“I class myself as a goalscoring midfielder so I want to keep on improving. I’ve started the year well, although I feel as though I could have scored a few more than I have.
“The second half of the season is crunch time and I want to be contributing to this team.
“If I can get a few more then great, but the main thing is that we keep winning as a team to achieve our end goal in May.
“There’s one aim for the whole club this year and that’s promotion.”
All focus is now on the league following the Tigers’ penalty shootout defeat.
And while disappointed not to be heading to Wembley, Docherty said his side could be encouraged by their performance against a fellow promotion hopeful.
“It’s a feeling of disappointment (to get knocked out),” said Docherty.
“For myself and some of the other lads, it was a chance to get one game closer to playing at Wembley for the first time.
“However, for us moving forward, there is nothing to fear and we should take a lot of confidence from the way we played going into our league games.
“Lincoln are in the same position as us in the league and we were under no illusions that they were going to be a good side.
“It was a good test for us, and I felt that we did more than enough over the 90 minutes to win the game but it wasn’t to be.”