Steve Evans had no complaints as Stevenage exited the Papa John's Trophy with defeat at Portsmouth - but says they have to learn from the experience.

Goals from Jay Mingi, Josh Koroma and Joe Pigott, the last with literally the last kick of the game, gave Pompey a 3-0 success at Fratton Park and sent them into the quarter-finals.

And the Boro boss admitted the quality of the League One outfit proved too much on the night.

He said: "[The score] does flatter them but we have to be honest that over the night they looked much better than us

"They have a terrific squad and we came here not knowing the 11 we’d face and they played a player who’s been away with Wales at the World Cup.

"Look at their substitutions. They bring on Marlon Pack, who’s probably their best player, and big Sean Raggett who is probably as good a centre-back as there is in League One. 

"They were sharper and better than us but I’d rather have gone through and been two games from Wembley.

"We’ll learn from tonight and some of the players will actually get sharper because we’ve not been on the grass Friday or Monday." 

The reason for that is two-fold. Friday's problems came from frozen pitches, Monday's was for something else entirely.

The boss said: "We couldn’t train [on Monday], nothing to do with roads or weather, just there is a lot of illness. It was a patched-up team.

"Terence [Vancooten] couldn’t make it, Alex Gilbey couldn’t make it and Jake Reeves was suspended but couldn’t have made it. 

"And we had two or three who played who were in bed over the weekend. 

"It happens and we’ll come through it but there are no excuses, we were well beaten on the night and we wish Portsmouth good luck in the next round." 

One of those that crawled off his sick bed was David Amoo, but he shone in the 45 minutes he got in the second half, playing in an unorthodox position.

"He played on the right of a four and I thought he was a real threat," said Evans, "especially considering he was in for the first time in a week. He's been ill in bed. 

"He reported to travel because if he didn’t we’d have had three outfield subs. 

"He felt free of his virus and he had a real go. At 1-0 down he had the left-back on a bit of a string, he couldn’t handle him. 

"The second goal killed that momentum but we need every player available to us." 

The goal for this season remains promotion from League Two but with games already this season against Wycombe Wanderers, Peterborough United, Charlton Athletic and now Portsmouth, Evans believes his players have been given valuable tests and insights into what is needed in the division above.

He said: ""You come to clubs like this and it is educational. It probably makes the players realise what the levels are when you go away to a club like Pompey as opposed to some League Two clubs.

"With the resources and the fanbase, this is not a League One club and every year they are in the division, it is just a travesty for the city of Portsmouth.

"Their play was much more fluid than what ours was. We played in patches but if you take clear-cut chances [in the first half], we probably shade it.

"And if you take when we were 1-0 down, we had two or three great opportunities to go and exploit them and we don’t take them.

"Then we get punished with some sloppy play defensively."