Southport were cruelly knocked out of the FA Cup at the Pride Park by Derby County by a stoppage time penalty from substitute Chris Martin.
The Sandgrounders had heroically kept their hihj-flying Championship opponents at bay for 90 minutes, but were then undone in the second of three minutes of injury time.
“It’s a cruel way to lose the game but there was never any doubt in our minds that it was a penalty,” said Brabin
“I’m gutted to see the lads so down but I genuinely didn’t think we were going to win the FA Cup.
“We just wanted to come here and show everyone what this team is capable of and leave with pride, which is certainly the case.
“I think they were excellent and we’ve frustrated a side who I think will be in the Premier League next season.”
One of just five non-league teams who had made it to the third round of the competition, Gary Brabin’s men withstood tremendous pressure from the Rams.
#In the second half, the home boss – former England manager Steve McClaren – was forced to bring on three big hitters from the bench as the tie looked set to go to a replay.
County eventually found the breakthrough with just seconds remaining when Johnny Russell was adjudged to have been fouled by Luke Foster.
Martin fired the resulting spot-kick past keeper David Raya Martin who had made several excellent saves during the game.
The crowd of 20,201 was the second biggest of the day with over 2,700 Southport supporters travelling to the game.
In the NPL First Division North, Burscough suffered a disappointing 3-1 defeat at home to Warrington Town.
Craig Robinson opened the scoring for the visitors six minutes before half-time and Ben Wharton increased the lead a minute after the interval.
Ashley Ruane made the game for Warrington in the 67th minute, although the Linnets did grab a consolation effort through Jordan Williams in the 81st minute.
Clitheroe enjoyed a thumping 4-0 away win at Radcliffe Borough with Roberto Bonaminio, Sefton Gonzales (2) andJason Hart on target.
Kendal Town lost 2-1 at Salford City, with Zach Clarke scoring their only goal.