Chorley boss Matt Jansen says his men will lick their wounds after their heartbreaking extra-time play-off final defeat at FC Halifax and come back fighting once again next term.
The two sides could not be separated over the 90 minutes, with Adam Blakeman cancelling out Kevin Roberts’ 46th minute strike.
But Chorley’s hopes of ending a 27-year hiatus from the National League were dashed by Scott Garner’s extra-time header in front of 8,000 people at the Shay.
Jansen says he is proud of his men but vowed to keep going as he aims to keep his play-off heroes together this summer and go again in the National League North next season.
He said: “Proud is probably too less a word... I’m immensely proud of them, they are a fantastic bunch.
“I’m gutted for them because they deserved to go up, but they have made the club proud.
“We will keep going, we will keep fighting, we will lick our wounds now for the next couple of days and be disappointed, but we know how good we are, we have proved how good we are this season and what a bunch of lads – if we can keep them all together who knows what can happen next season.”
And Jansen hailed his side’s ‘priceless’ spirit after they battled to the bitter end at Halifax and says they should hold their heads high.
He said: “Even when they scored the second, I thought it could be our day.
“We will never stop believing and never stop fighting.
“Yes we have not got the finance of the majority of the clubs in our league, but what we have got is a dressing room and a team spirit and that is priceless – you can’t buy that.
“They are fighters, they run for each other, work for each other – they have the belief because they have done so well.
“They have the work rate and the ability and we outplayed them, sometimes you need that little bit of luck and we did not have it.
“Football is cruel sometimes and it was cruel to us on Saturday because we deserved to win.
“There have been a few tears shed - mainly by me!
“The lads are upset, but I’ve told them they can’t be disappointed, this season they have been warriors, they have been so good for me and they should hold their heads up high – they should be proud.”
The fans travelled across the Pennines in their numbers with 1,941 making the trip.
And Jansen wants that support to continue next term.
He said: “This is what we try to pride ourselves on, it isn’t just the players, the staff or the management, the board, the directors, the bar staff at the social club, the volunteers that do the stewarding, Josh the photographer - everyone.
“It is all about the fans. I cried out for them to come for the last, six, seven, eight weeks and they have done
“They got us to this stage then they were as good, if not better on Saturday and that is why it is so disappointing that we could not quite get across the finish line - I feel for them - all I ask is that they do the same next season from the start to the finish.”