Russell Slade admits it was one of the toughest moments of his career as Leyton Orient's promotion dream was shattered by Rotherham United after losing on penalties in the League 1 play-off final at Wembley.
The O's led 2-0 at half-time against the Millers, before conceding twice in the second half, and also had a 3-2 advantage on penalties but saves by Adam Collin from Mathieu Baudry and Chris Dagnall cruelly denied Orient a place in the Championship.
Slade, who has lost all three play-off finals as a manager, said: "It doesn't feel too good obviously. It's one of the toughest moments for me as a manager and I'm sure it's a very tough moment for my players that have given absolutely everything yet again for the cause."
Reflecting on the heartbreak of penalties, Slade said: "It is cruel and it's not like we've not practiced them. We've done that religiously but it's all about the moment and making sure you do the right thing and get the ball in the net.
"Having said that, goalkeepers out there are not quite sure what your fourth or fifth penalty taker is going to do so there is a bit of guess work in there as well. You need that little bit of fortune which Rotherham got today."
Two goals in the space of five second-half minutes from former O's striker Alex Revell, including a stunning equaliser, turned the match around and brought Rotherham back to 2-2. But Slade was unhappy at the decision to award a free-kick which led to the Millers' first goal which started their comeback.
The Orient manager said: "I thought it was a little bit harsh on us in many ways. It was very tight between the two teams and I accept that. But I'm just very disappointed with the way they got a free-kick which I didn't think it was for the first goal.
"They were a little bit fortunate with that goal when the goalkeeper's punched it against Baudry which has dropped down for Alex Revell so I thought they were fortunate with that if I'm honest.
"Other than that I thought it was two very tight teams and you've got to give Rotherham credit for coming back in a final like that from 2-0 down. It was a good advertisement for our league and was always going to be a tough game. Unfortunately we've not managed to make it."