We were so close to Wembley, I cried at the final whistle, says Gainsborough Trinity boss
Steve Housham admitted he shed a tear with his players after their Wembley dream was cruelly snatched away at the final hurdle.
Emotions were high on Saturday afternoon as Gainsborough Trinity's long and impressive run in the FA Trophy came to an end despite a 2-1 semi-final win against Wrexham at the Northolme.
Unfortunately for the home fans, the Blues needed to win by two clear goals to keep their dream alive after losing 3-1 in north Wales in the first leg.
"We threw everything but the kitchen sink at them," said Housham.
"We just missed out at the last hurdle, but we gave our fans something to be proud of.
"I cried with the boys. We were that close (to Wembley) and Stampy (Darryn Stamp), Lears (Michael Leary) are in there and it has hurt them.
"The senior players might never get a chance like that again. We were all in it together and we will come out of it together."
It was a case of what might have been for Trinity, who ended the game dominating the team from the higher league.
The Dragons took the lead after 22 minutes with a goal worthy of any semi-final.
Wrexham's leading scorer Danny Wright received the ball on the visitors' right. He cut inside and curled a beauty over and around Trinity custodian Jan Budtz into the top corner from 20 yards.
At 4-1 down on aggregate, Trinity could have thrown in the towel there and then, but just four minutes later the impressive Terry Hawkridge latched on to Jamie Yates' nod down and fired home an equaliser from 12 yards.
It could have been even better for the home side just two minutes later when Hawkridge's driven corner was met by Stamp, but his powerful header flew inches wide.
A second-half deflected goal by Trinity keeper Michael Leary on 79 minutes lit the blue touch paper as Trinity piled on the pressure.
With the introduction of Bradley Barraclough, Paul Connor and Greg Young in the second half, Trinity had three strikers on the pitch in a dramatic final 20 minutes which saw a number of goal-line clearances from keeper Maxwell and Wrexham defenders.
But the Blues finally ran out of time as Wrexham held on to take the final spot at the national stadium.
"They had a couple cleared off the line, their keeper has pulled off a couple of saves, but I am proud of my team and this town," added Housham.
"The Gainsborough fans were superb, I feel for them, but we move on.
"Our aim was to try and win a game of football, we did that, but unfortunately the goals situation killed us a bit, but we have done the town proud.
"We have won a game of football against a Wrexham side who could win the title or certainly get promoted.
"It's another tick of a box because that is four teams from the Premier League now and we have four victories, with just one defeat.
"I give my players a lot of credit for that. It was the best display we have put on for a long while. Heart, courage, I am just sorry for the fans that we just didn't quite get that trip to Wembley.
"Hopefully we have won a few more fans and we will need them week in, week out.
"We will bounce back. For the rest of the season now, we will just ask them to build on that.
"We want more games like this. We had one last year with the play-off final.
"It would have been nice to go to Wembley but you can't take it away from them, this run we have been on has been fantastic."