It'll take some time for the pain to wear off after Havelock North Wanderers missed out on promotion to Central League soccer next season.
"We've drawn the tie but actually today we've proved we're the better team," player/coach Chris Greatholder said after the villagers beat Waterside Karori 1-0 in their away leg in Wellington today but another goal would have pushed the Lotto Central Federation League champions ahead of their Capital Football League counterparts next season.
Winger Liam Shackleton struck the winner in the 62nd minute at Karori Park but Greatholder said his troops came close to adding another goal for a 3-2 aggregate win but to no avail as the 2-1 loss at Guthrie Park a fortnight ago came back to haunt them.
"We just couldn't get the ball in the net. We've hit the cross bar, they've cleared one off the line in the last minute," he said, adding Karori coach Martin Pereyra Garcia agreed they deserved to win.
"We've come so far and we've done everything we could have done today and we just couldn't get over the line."
On the flip side, Greatholder lauded Karori and could relate to their agony of failed attempts at gaining promotion in the past few years.
"Yes, they feel our pain and I'm happy for them so we'll learn from this and get stronger."
He was proud of his team, especially the young crop whose average age is around the 15 to 16-year-old mark.
"We've probably developed quicker than I thought we would," he said, revealing they had surpassed expectations in "destroying" the Fed League when they kicked of the season with hopes of simply trying to win it.
Greatholder believes if they play Karori again they will beat them.
"We've gone far, not quite there but very proud and pleased we've played the football we wanted us to play."