Sutton United 0 Arsenal 2
Paul Doswell spoke of his pride in his Sutton United team as their fairy tale FA Cup run came to an end against Premier League side Arsenal.
Despite 105 places separating the sides, the Gunners were made to work hard for their win with Lucas Perez firing in a low drive after 26 minutes.
Arsenal then put daylight between the teams with Theo Walcott finishing off a flowing move involving Nacho Monreal and Alex Iwobi ten minutes after the break.
Sutton kept fighting until the end with Jamie Collins heading over and Roarie Deacon striking the bar, but they bowed out of the competition following a cup run that has captured the imagination of people across the globe.
“I’m very, very proud of them,” said Doswell.
“We asked them to give us everything they had and they did just that.
“We had Adam May’s chance before half-time, Jamie’s header and Roarie’s smacked the bar, but you do need one of those to go in.
“One of my little goals was to do better than Southampton and we can say we’ve done that.
“Saints lost 5-0 to them and we’ve lost 2-0, so in my mind that’s a moral victory.
“I know it was quiet dressing room as they lost but they should be so proud of the way they have gone about this cup run.
“They have put this club on the map and I hope everyone who has been watching this team comes again as they are worth watching.”
After playing against the likes of Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Alexis Sanchez, it’s back to reality for Doswell and his team on Saturday as they travel to Torquay United.
Sutton’s league form dipped following the FA Cup fourth round win over Leeds United and the club now have a fight on their hands to retain their place in the National League.
“We’ve had a tough three or four weeks trying to keep things focused,” added Doswell.
“We’ve not played players in case they got injured, not played players because of suspensions and that stops now.
“The reality is that it might take a week to get everyone back to ground level and get back to the way we do things.
“I’m not expecting anything other than we approach the next 17 games knowing we need to win five of them to stay up and that’s the most important thing to us.
“We’ve got to finish safe in the National League to have had a really good season.
“If we finish 18th and with the remarkable cup run we’ve had then I can reflect on it as one of the best footballing season’s I have had.”
Feature image of Gander Green Lane from BT Sport, via Youtube, with thanks