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Heartbreak and pride for Witham boss Garry
Witham Town manager Garry Kimble was feeling heartbreak and pride in equal measures after seeing his team knocked out of the FA Cup in the most dramatic of circumstances.
Kimble’s team produced heroics in their second qualifying round replay against Hemel Hempstead Town and appeared to be heading through to face Dulwich Hamlet as two goals by Tom Wraight and one from Lewis Godbold saw them 3-1 ahead with five minutes to go.
However, they had had to fend off a barrage from an impressive opponent, who is leading the Calor Southern League premier division, throughout the second half.
The constant pressure finally told as Hemel Hempstead halved the deficit and then not only equalised with a minute to go, but then snatched a dramatic winner in time added-on to leave home hearts shattered.
Kimble said: “We knew we were never going to win the FA Cup, but we were jubilant with how it was going with five minutes left.
“We should have held on and that’s the disappointing thing.
“I still can’t believe how it went at the end.
“I’m just so deflated because we were so close.
“I think our biggest mistake was by not holding the ball and taking it into the corner.
“We went for goal a couple of times late on when we should have just held on to it, but then if it had gone to 4-1 the game would have been dead and buried.
“However, you have to give credit to Hemel Hempstead because they went for it for the full 95 minutes.
“Their manager said to me afterwards that he thought we would more than hold our own in the Ryman Premier.
“As a club and as players and a management team, I think we have come quite far since I took over.
“I was proud of my boys and how they played and I hope the supporters will be too.
“I know some of our supporters can be a bit negative if things don’t go well and some were understandably sombre after the game, but I said to my players that they should go out with their heads held high and with smiles on their faces because of the way they had played.
“We were five or six minutes away from the prize money against a team with the quality of Hemel Hempstead and for that they can be very proud.
“It will hurt for a while, but we now have to make sure we bounce back.
“I think it will only drive us on to be even better.
“We showed we can hold our own at a higher level.
“No-one has put three goals past Hemel Hempstead all season and we gave them a test.
“I couldn’t ask for any more from my players.
“They ran through brick walls for me all over the park.”
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