Matthew Dopson was left a proud captain as Blyth Spartans’ FA Youth Cup campaign ended at the First Round Proper stage.
The young Spartans advanced past Darlington, Billingham Town, Gateshead and AFC Fylde to set up an encounter with League Two academy Salford City.
Salford emerged as 3-0 winners at the Peninsula Stadium as Dopson reflected on his and his teammates fantastic achievement to reach such stage in the first place.
“Overall, I’m proud of the lads for how far we’ve got,” Dopson said.
“We didn’t give up until the end. We battled all the way, tried our hardest and got to where we wanted to be.
“I’m really proud of the lads. I’m proud of myself too, my Mam and Dad will be happy!
“It was good to captain the team, I enjoyed it.
“There were plenty of standout moments but the penalty shootout win over Gateshead stands out for me. It was unbelievable.
“Fylde were a good side and we played well against them. We thought we could beat Salford tonight but it is what it is, we fought until the end.”
Against Salford, Spartans fell behind early on and trailed 2-0 the break.
They improved in the second-half but proudly bowed out of the competition.
Dopson said: “First-half was flat. We didn’t start the game well.
“They played two upfront so we couldn’t really play out from the back.
“We didn’t really get on the ball much – it just didn’t go our way.
“In the second half, we came out and gave it our all. We had chances but unfortunately, we weren’t confident enough to take them.
“But we tried our hardest, and that’s all we can ask of ourselves.”