Michael Jolley says everybody associated with Grimsby Town should be proud of the club’s efforts, despite the Mariners’ 1-0 defeat to Crystal Palace in the Emirates FA Cup third round.
Town were down to 10 men after just two minutes as left-back Andrew Fox was sent off by referee Martin Atkinson, with the assistance of VAR, at Selhurst Park.
But the Mariners were just four minutes from taking Roy Hodgson’s Premier League side to a replay at Blundell Park, until Jordan Ayew headed the only goal of the game past James McKeown on 86 minutes.
But Town boss Jolley said it was a proud occasion for everybody involved as the Mariners displayed determination and desire in abundance.
Speaking on iFollow Mariners, he said: “Everybody associated with Grimsby Town can be proud today because it’s a difficult enough task to come away to a Premier League side anyway.
“We were missing four centre-backs – that makes it even more difficult – and then we lose a player inside two minutes, so we were playing the whole match with 10 men.
“So as challenges go it’s up there, but I thought the way the players responded as absolutely incredible.
“The defensive organisation, the work-rate, and the desire to stick in the game and try get something out of it – was absolutely unbelievable, so I’m so, so proud of our players, and also our fans, today.
“It’s something that we can all be proud of, it’s incredibly disappointing that we got so close – I think it was the 83rd minute when they scored, so we were very close to a replay.
“But to play with 10 men for the whole match, and deliver that kind of effort and performance, I think we can all be happy with that.”
And Jolley praised the 5,399 Town fans who showed their magnificent support in the Arthur Wait Stand.
He said: “The key thing I’ll take away from today is the moment at the end where the players and the fans were together.
“We’re so grateful to have so many fans here today – I think it shows the size of Grimsby Town Football Club.
“And hopefully we can start to move forward, and look up rather than down.”