The town of Worksop should be proud of its football team after their play-off efforts, according to Tigers boss Mark Shaw.
In an emotional interview after his side somehow lost 3-1 at AFC Fylde on Tuesday, despite creating chance after achance, Shaw said his heart went out to the players and supporters.
It was a cruel way for the Worksop Town season and their promotion hopes to come to an end, coming so close to a late leveller before conceding a sucker punch third goal.
Shaw lauded the efforts of his players, who were brought to their knees by the final whistle.
“They were brilliant,” he said.
“We’ve had chance after chance, we were the better side.”
“I can’t describe how disappointed I am, I feel for the players, they’ve put a lot of effort in.”
“They’ve done Worksop Town Football Club proud, they’ve done the town proud, they’ve been fantastic this year.”
With Fylde moving on to the final against Ashton United, who pulled off a shock win over FC United of Manchester, Shaw’s attention began to turn to next season.
As his players prepared for the long trip home from the north west coast, he told the Guardian: “It’s a young side that’s been pulled together this year.”
“We’ve got one hell of a group here now and I just want to try and keep them together, strengthen where we need to and next year we should be a huge force.”
The manager tasted play-off disappointment for the second time, having missed out in promotion previously with Sheffield FC.
Tigers stars Leon Mettam and Shane Clarke also have experience of play-off despair, losing in the Conference North play-off final to Nuneaton as Gainsborough players in 2012.
Describing the feeling of losing in such a big game, Shaw explained: “There’s a very thin line between getting what you want and losing, scoring and not scoring.”
“It’s a horrible way to end a season, it’s a sad, sad feeling. It’s the second time I’ve lost in the play-offs and you feel for your players and the supporters who make the trip.”
The locals who travelled to Fylde made themselves heard from before kick-off until they left the ground, and Shaw appreciated their presence.
“The fans were magnificent, travelling a long way in midweek, leaving jobs early,” he said.
“The away support has been superb all year, they’ve shown they’re passionate about their club and I hope they can forgive us for not doing it for them.”