Michael Flynn has wrapped a protective arm around Newport County’s Ryan Inniss after the defender’s missed penalty denied the club another trip to Wembley.
Inniss’s spot kick was saved during a sudden death shoot-out against Salford City in the Leasing.com Trophy semi-final clash.
County were bidding to reach Wembley for the fifth time in eight years, but when the tie at their opponents’ Peninsula Stadium finished goalless after 90 minutes, it was Salford who won 6-5 on penalties following Inniss’s miss.
“I didn’t really want Ryan taking one that early, but what can you do?” said Flynn.
“He was confident and fair play to him for backing himself to go up and take it. It is what is.”
Newport missed a number of chances to score, a problem they have failed to overcome for much of their season and Flynn added: “It’s mounting up and it’s really bit us on the backside this season.”
It meant James Wilson’s penalty proved decisive for Salford after the game had ended 0-0 between the two League Two sides.
It marks another significant moment in Salford’s history as they reached the final of the competition for the first time in their debut season in the Leasing.com Trophy.
Salford manager Graham Alexander said: “We did talk about the possibility of it going to penalties and it was about the players going up and having the courage to do what they did and every credit to them, they were superb.
“For me if a penalty goes over the line it’s a good penalty, and that, so we took six good penalties.”