Peter Buckland said he was proud of his players despite being knocked out of the Peter Bentley Cup in extra-time by Eastbourne United.
The manager said his Horsham YMCA team looked ‘physically and mentally’ tired on Tuesday night after having to play an extra 30 minutes in their FA Vase success three days earlier.
Add that to the long trip to Eastbourne and the fact YM were leading 2-1 as the game ticked into injury-time, left Buckland praising their efforts.
Callum Hart netted an equaliser after a long ball forwards in the 93rd minute to force an extra half an hour.
That came after a Phil Johnson penalty on 27 minutes was levelled up by Dean Stevens nine minutes later from close range.
Sam Schaaf restored YM’s lead before the break as he twisted and turned in the box and shot into the far corner after a flag kick.
Second-half substitute Max Howell missed three golden opportunities to put the game to bed and Alex Gathern put over the bar with the goal gaping, before United equalised.
As both sets of players tired in extra-time, it was a mistake that clinched it as the YM defence switched off and former forward Liam Baitup came back to haunt them, poking home from a melee.
Buckland said: “We were down on the east coast on a Tuesday night with much the same player from Saturday and we put in a very good shift.
“It was probably the best we have played all season and I was pleased as we look physically and mentally tired.
“They are a good side and their league position suggests that, they are better at home than they are away and that’s the third time we have played them down there this season - we are back again on Tuesday to play Eastbourne Town.
“It’s a big ask for young men who are working all day every day for a living like you and me, to get down there for an evening game, let along extra-time.
“I respect them for that. I respect them for all getting there through the traffic problems and I respect them for the shift they put in.
“I am not despondent at all. If you go somewhere and get beat four or five nil, you have to look at yourselves, but when the better team losses, that’s football and you take that on the chin.”
Horsham YMCA: Fox, Carden, Gilbert, Gathern, Shipton, Johnson, Godfrey (Howell 74), Cooke (Spinks 105), Dugdale, Brown, Schaaf.