Hinckley AFC assistant manager Paul Tomlinson said he was proud of his side’s performance despite exiting the Buildbase FA Vase at the hands of Buckland Athletic.
Sam Agar’s hat-trick meant AFC led for large spells of the game but were always pegged back by their Devon visitors, before Richard Groves netted the decisive goal two minutes into extra time.
And Tomlinson says Hinckley can leave the competition with their heads held high. He said: “We’ve just said in the changing rooms how proud we are of the lads.
“Every single one of them has put a major shift in. We said before the game to have no regrets and leave nothing in the changing room and they lads haven’t.
“They’ve given everything for this football club and for themselves today, and at the end of the day the luck hasn’t been with us in the last five or ten minutes. We hit the bar and had an unbelievable penalty shout turned down for the second time in two weeks.
“The lads could have done no more but I’m extremely proud. It was a brilliant game and if you’re a paying spectator you’ve got your money’s worth today. It was a great cup tie and credit to Buckland because they’re a good side, but we had the tie in our grasp but didn’t have enough to get over the line.”
Despite that pride, Tomlinson also felt an element of frustration that his side were twice unable to hold on to their leads.
“At the end of the day we were in a great position at 2-0 up in a cup tie, but we’ve contrived to come in at half time having conceded two goals where I never saw a threat from them really.
“But that’s the way football goes. We showed great character to come back again, and then we conceded again so it’s been a frustrating afternoon in terms of the goals we’ve conceded.
“But the lads have given a great shift and we can’t ask any more of them than that.”
And after the passing of Simon Blyth in the week, Tomlinson said the players did him proud.
“It’s been a big focus for us during the week for everyone that knows Simon and our condolences go out to his family and friends. He’s touched everybody because he was a big part of this football club. Everywhere you’d turn Simon was there.
“I’d like to pass on my condolences, and from Carl as well and the whole team, and that performance today was for Simon. We just haven’t quite got the result but he’s in our thoughts and so are his family.
“It’s been a tough week and a tough day today because before the game there was a lot of talk about Simon. He touched this football club massively and he’ll be sadly missed.”