Is it possible to describe your emotions after the shoot-out?

No, I just felt empty.

There’s a numbness, as if it hasn’t really happened.

When you go to penalties then it’s a lottery.

We’d practiced for that scenario and spent a large part of a training session on Thursday trying to cover every possibility.

I feel so sorry for the supporters that came all this way to get behind us and I’m sorry as well for the players because with 15 minutes to go they were out on their feet.

Did you think you’d weathered the storm when Chertsey didn’t score during that late siege?

We thought so, yes.

We had to dig deep and you could see Jack Fleming had cramp. Kieron Kenny did too.

Neither of them wanted to come off though; we asked them, and they said ‘no’.

Danny Taberner made a world-class save in those final few minutes and another one too when their lad went through on goal just after that.

But we’ve come back into it during extra time and Jordan [Darr] has got in a couple of times before Rob [Doran] had a great chance at the end.

Northwich Guardian:

Rob Doran's shot is repelled by Chertsey Town goalkeeper Nick Jupp after Northwich Victoria threatened to score a decisive goal in the closing stages of extra-time at Alwyns Lane on Saturday. Picture: Angela Buckley/Truly Photogenic

Hopefully there are no regrets because the players gave everything didn’t they?

Yes, they did.

As a manager, and I know it’s a cliché, you ask for every lad to not hold anything back. And they haven’t.

But ultimately, we haven’t achieved what we wanted to and that’s to reach the final.

I don’t know what more to say; I’ve lost in an FA Vase semi-final as a player and now as a manager and this feels worse because it’s my team.

When we came together in a huddle before the start of extra-time, I reminded them that I’m proud of them and no matter what happens we’re in this situation together.

Did you anticipate the tie may go the distance given how well matched the teams were?

We felt that was likely, yes.

That was something we’d thought about, not just with practicing penalties, but we made the substitutions with that in mind as well.

I’m not sure as a group we could have done any more.

Northwich Guardian:

Northwich Victoria's players line up before the start of a penalty shoot-out to decide the victor in an FA Vase semi-final encounter with Chertsey Town on Saturday. Picture: Angela Buckley/Truly Photogenic

How hard a call was it to leave out Harvey Whyte?

Probably the toughest decision I’ve ever made.

I just felt that Matty had come in against Newcastle and then Histon in earlier rounds and delivered in those big games.

I feel for Harvey, but I felt we got our tactics right - we didn’t concede a goal.

I just wonder if that pause we had before the first leg eventually got played, when both teams had gone almost three weeks without a game, had an impact.

We had so much fluidity before that.

It feels apt to close with a message to the fans. What would you say to them?

They’ve been brilliant all season but the game at Newcastle Benfield [in January] was a turning point for us.

When we walked out that afternoon and heard the roar from them, I think a lot of our lads thought ‘We can go places with this club.’

I just hope that we’ve at least put a smile back on their faces because they’ve been every bit as good off the field as we have on it.