Cowley proud of his Braintree Town players despite play-off exit

A disappointed Danny Cowley is interviewed by BT Sports Natalie Quirk at the end of the Braintree v

A disappointed Danny Cowley is interviewed by BT Sports Natalie Quirk at the end of the Braintree v Grimsby (National League Play-off semi final second leg) match at The Avanti Stadium, Brsaintree, on 08 May 2016. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Danny Cowley was filled with an overriding feeling of pride despite seeing Braintree Town side suffer play-off semi-final heartbreak at the hands of Grimsby Town.

Danny Cowley was filled with an overriding feeling of pride despite seeing Braintree Town side suffer play-off semi-final heartbreak at the hands of Grimsby Town.

The part-timers, who finished third in the National League to earn a spot in the post season, led 1-0 heading into the second leg at Cressing Road but ultimately fell to a 2-0 defeat after extra-time, which saw them defeated 2-1 on aggregate after they lost defender Mark Phillips to a red card.

Despite suffering a cruel end to a magnificent season, Cowley insisted he was proud of everything he and his players were able to accomplish.

“We just came up a little short,” he said.

“There’s a certain amount of disappointment but there’s an overriding feeling of pride for the players.

“Probably the football gods weren’t with us, we gave a penalty away and then to lose Mark Phillips so quickly after was tough for us.

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“Playing with 10, especially considering the heat, it was very tough.

“They had a lot of territory and possession but we didn’t feel threatened by them until 70 minutes and the penalty.”

While there was a sombre mood in the Braintree dressing room after they left the field, Cowley believes his players will appreciate all they have achieved this season in the fullness of time.

“As a manager you don’t have the words to make the feeling any better for them, that’s the nature of it,” he said.

“We’ve had our dream snatched away from us but we have been brilliant all season.

“Maybe later this month or some time in June they will look back and be really proud of the journey they have been on.

“If you’re going to beat Grimsby over two legs then you probably need a bit of luck, you need the football gods on your side.

“You can argue they were in the first leg but not in the second, and that’s it, it is what it is.

“It was a hot day, conditions didn’t help, but both sides have to cope with them.”

The Braintree boss was also keen to wish opposite number Paul Hurst luck as they take on Forest Green in next weekend’s final, having watched the Mariners lose out on penalties to Bristol Rovers a year ago.

He said: “Grimsby are a great team with some fantastic players and credit for them, credit to Paul Hurst.

“I watched them play Bristol Rovers in the final last year when they lost on penalties and he was a credit to his club and a credit to football that day.

“I’m disappointed for us but pleased for him, and I hope they go one better this year.”

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