YATE TOWN boss Rob Cousins was delighted with the effort of his players as they bowed out of the FA Cup with their heads held high at Cheltenham.
The Bluebells' ground-breaking run to the first round came to an end after a 3-0 defeat at the Abbey Business Stadium, but they gave the League Two promotion-chasers a scare by hitting the woodwork twice in quick succession after falling behind to an early goal.
Yate came from behind in both ties against Newport in the last round - drawing 3-3 at Lodge Road before winning the replay 3-1 after extra time - but their hopes of repeating the trick faded when Cheltenham hit a second goal in the 65th minute before adding a third in stoppage time.
Cousins said: "We came from that position before, being 1-0 down, and had one of those chances gone in it could've been a different game.
"We didn't create too much in the second half which was a bit disappointing, but the lads gave everything they had in that first 50 minute spell and very quickly run out of steam.
"We had to go for it, there's no point sitting back and inviting them to come onto you all the time.
"I think nerves got the better of a few and our fitness levels are never going to be as good as a full-time side, but we came away with a lot of credit and gave a good account of ourselves.”
Cousins is well aware that some of his players could be attracting interest from bigger clubs after enhancing their reputations by helping Yate reach the first round for the first time.
He said: "That squad of players will go down in history and that will never be taken away from them.
"The players we've brought here we've tried to nurture to help them progress. Obviously they're in the shop window and that's all credit to them."
Cheltenham boss Mark Yates also spoke highly of Yate and was relieved to avoid a potential 'banana skin'.
He said: "Credit to them they kept playing and passing, and did non-league football and their town proud.
"They had a couple of chances after we took the lead but apart from that we looked pretty comfortable.
"At 1-0 it was still on a knife edge and their keeper made a lot good saves, but fortunately Billy (Jones) put in another decent delivery and Mo (Kaid Mohamed) headed it in and that put the game to bed."
With the FA Cup adventure now over, Cousins is now concentrating on lifting the team off the bottom of the Evo-Stik Southern League Division One South and West table.
He said: "What we'd like to see now is to have the enjoyable times we've had in the cup on a regular basis, and that means winning league matches, otherwise it will soon be forgotten this cup run.
"It was nice to hear their players and management saying how well we played and they can't believe the position we're in, but it's a matter of time before we climb the table."