KARL Marginson will be happy to stick by his makeshift back four as his team head to Mossley for a derby match on Tuesday night.
The Rebels' defence, including debutant Danny Jarrett and 21-year-old Adam Turner who made his first start, shipped four goals against a team which is emerging as favourite to clinch the one automatic promotion spot in the UniBond League's first division north.
It was the second time in six weeks that the Yorkshire outfit - reputed to be the division's biggest spenders - had scored four on FC turf, after their surprising 4-1 FA Trophy rout last month.
But Marginson had nothing but praise for his injury-hit team, which was without four of their six contracted players including goalkeeper Sam Ashton and defensive rock Dave Chadwick.
"I was proud of the way we kept going, and thought a draw would have been a fair result," said the manager philosophically.
"Given all the injury problems we had, I thought we played some excellent football, but I'm afraid you don't always get out of a game what you put into it.
"The defence did well considering it was thrown together at training on Thursday night, and only had 45 minutes to work together before coming up against a team as dangerous as Avenue.
"We brought Adam in from the reserves, where he was player-of-the-season last term, and I thought he was possibly man-of-the-match, especially as it was his first start in such a big match.
"He grew in stature as the game went on. We will have to see how Rob Nugent is before picking the team for tomorrow night - he was suspended but has a cartilage problem and his ankle strapped, but this game proved to me that we have more than capable replacements with the two lads who came in."
Avenue hit FC with a sucker punch in the first minute, centre forward Mike Moseley heading in the first goal but the Rebels hit back as Turner headed the equaliser from a corner and Chris Baguley forced the ball home to make it 2-1 on 15 minutes.
But Avenue were level before half-time through Steven Connors and went ahead through Darren Hockenhull's spot-kick on 63 minutes when a dubious penalty was awarded against Turner.
Marginson was furious with the decision.
He said: "The lad just ran across Adam and tripped over - no way was it a penalty."
Avenue made it 4-2 on the counter-attack through Moseley again, but FC replied with a Rory Patterson penalty in the dying seconds after battling Simon Carden had been brought down.