Gutsy Gosport Borough emerged with their pride intact as they stood firm in the face of an FA Cup battering.
The Privett Park outfit’s Cup dream turned into a nightmare as they found themselves 3-0 down inside just 26 minutes of their historic encounter with Colchester United.
But while there were fears it could turn into a humiliation, Borough fought back and showed plenty of spirit as the game ended in a 6-3 defeat.
And boss Alex Pike paid tribute to his battlers as they tasted the first round of the competition for the first time in the club’s history.
Pike said: ‘I never feared it would turn into a rout.
‘I trust my players and they showed a lot of spirit and determination to stick to the task.
‘They kept going and kept working for each other until the final whistle.
‘They were up against a very good team and against players from League One.
‘There was a gulf between the teams and I’m not going to dispute that.
‘But nobody has disgraced themselves. They have done the club proud again and given their all.’
Pike admitted the opening quarter of the contest had effectively ended all hopes of a big upset for the Conference South outfit.
He said: ‘You want to keep it tight for those first 20 minutes and we didn’t do that.
‘We gifted them goals through our mistakes.
‘As a non-league team, we had to get in their faces and do our best to disrupt that pattern.
‘But the players showed a lot of guts and I’m proud to be their manager.’