Simon Grayson saluted a brave performance from Preston North End as they took Premier League newcomers Bournemouth to penalties in the Capital One Cup.
Twice the Lilywhites came from behind at Deepdale, Jordan Hugill levelling in the 85th minute to take the game into extra-time after Shaun MacDonald had given the Cherries a first-half lead.
Marc Pugh restored the visitors’ advantage six minutes into extra-time before Daniel Johnson equalised two minutes from time from the penalty spot to make it 2-2.
Johnson was to miss from the spot together with Hugill and Alan Browne as Bournemouth triumphed 3-2 on penalties.
PNE manager Grayson said: “The lads were very tired at the end, disappointed with the result but they can be very proud of what they have done.
“They showed a lot of character, worked hard and did everything we asked of them in response to the second-half performance at Brentford on Saturday.
“It is disappointing to go out of the competition but if you are going to lose a game, that performance was the right way to do it.
“The players put in a hell of a shift, everyone of them worked hard from the lads who started to the ones who came on.
“We had to match the energy of Bournemouth, a side who have a lot of good players.
“They have quick players and we have to cover every inch of ground to try and nullify the threats they had.
“In the first half we were okay without really being effective.
“Bournemouth zipped the ball around, played one-twos and had runners from midfield.
“Maybe we gave them a bit too much respect, although saying that, they were a good team regardless of who they left at home.
“In the second half we got among them, played on the front foot with a good tempo and showed a bit more quality.
“Importantly, we showed a lot of character to twice come from behind and take the game to penalties – we kept going right until the end.”
Hugill made an impact by coming off the bench to score the first equaliser and was a handful for the Bournemouth defence throughout his time on the pitch.
Said Grayson: “Jordan gives you that threat, he puts himself about.
“He’s had a stop-start year or so with us and when he went on, I told him that he owed us something after letting us down with his red card at MK Dons.
“He was handful and got his goal which will do him good.
“There were some other very good performances, Alan Browne, Bailey Wright and Will Keane all played very well.
“It was nice to see them play to their capabilities, while I was pleased that the lads who played on Saturday took on board what we had said to them on Sunday and Monday.
“They responded in a really positive manner.”
Grayson revealed that a slight hamstring strain had ruled Paul Huntington out of the game and he could also miss Saturday’s league clash with Wolves.