It would have been a long journey home for Eastbourne Borough and their travelling fans after they were unceremoniously dumped out of the FA Cup by lower-league Hendon.
But it was the manner in which the defeat came about that would have been the bitterest pill to swallow for Tommy Widdrington and his men after the Ryman Premier side, who had been reduced to 10 men, came from a goal down to secure their place in the fourth qualifying round with a strike in the last minute of extra time.
It was the third time this season that a late, late goal has broken the hearts of the Borough contingent but this time, the consequences were that little bit more painful as their dream of a successful run in the country’s most prestigious competition came to an abrupt end.
Widdrington made a handful of changes to the side that were held to a 2-2 draw with Hendon on Saturday, dropping captain Ollie Rowe, Ellis Remy and David Knight to the bench while returning Charlie Gorman and Gary Hart to the starting line-up and handing David Obaze his first start in a Borough shirt.
For all the changes though, the Sports struggled to settle down at Vale Farm and just as in the match at Priory Lane on Saturday, the two sides couldn’t be separated over the course of a scrappy 90 minutes that saw neither goalkeeper seriously troubled.
However, the match exploded into life as the referee signalled the start of extra time, with substitute Darren Lok waiting just two minutes before firing into the roof of the net to propel Borough into the lead.
The sigh of relief on the bench was evident as Widdrington and his team felt they had finally secured the break they needed to see off their tricky opponents; a belief that was strengthened as Hendon’s skipper Scott Cousins was shown a straight red card just minutes later.
However, Hendon were not to be shaken off that easily and found a way back into the game as Michael Murray won and converted a penalty in the 107th minute.
And just as it seemed inevitable the match would be heading to penalties, Hendon delivered their killer blow.
It was an impressive goal from substitute Isiah Rankin that did the damage but that will be little consolation to the Borough contingent as their history of failing to overcome lower-league opposition continues to haunt them.
Hendon, meanwhile, pocket the £7,500 prize money and set up a tie with Histon/Corby for a place in the first round proper.
Borough: Jordan 5, Hamilton 6, Cole 6, Adelsbury 5, Obaze 6 (Paul, 5), Uddin 6,Adams 6 (Remy 60, 5), Johnson 7, Hart 6 (Lok 70, 6), Gorman 6, Shephard 6. Unused subs: Noone, Rowe, Knight, Gilbert