Forest Green Rovers suffered late extra-time heartbreak as Newport denied them a trip to Wembley to contest the League Two play-off title on Sunday evening.

Despite the game ending 4-3 on the night, it still wasn’t enough to ensure a place in the final against Morecambe for Rovers as Nicky Maynard’s strike on 119 minutes gave the Exiles a 5-4 win on aggregate.

Forest Green’s interim head Coach Jimmy Ball admitted after the match that he was “proud and heartbroken, all at the same time.”

“Amazing performance, a wonderful group of men who are over in that dressing room absolutely heartbroken,” he explained. “But when you ask men to go to the well and to bare their souls and to give everything they’ve got, and they do, it’s an incredible feeling.”

The game also saw the return of fans to the innocent New Lawn for the first time since December and they certainly made themselves heard.

After the conclusion of the contest, Ball was seen speaking to a section of fans in the South Stand and he later revealed that he apologised them.

He said: “They were great. I apologised.

“I wish we could have done more for them, but they were there all game singing, cheering us on, wishing us nothing but the best and that’s all you can ask for. I think they did that because they saw their team make a real fist of it and have a right go.”

It is now unclear as to whether Ball will be offered the head coach role on a full-time basis but what was plain to see Sunday night was the respect and admiration the fans hold for him.

In just eight games, he has managed to unite the fan base and get Rovers supporters believing again through his energy and clear passion for the club.

Ball reiterated after the game that he wishes to remain a part of the club and a project that he believes he can help build.

He said: “I’m not going to make any excuses about it, I’d like to be a part of this project at this unique football club that’s innovative and brave in everything we do and I’d like to be a part of that – I really, really would.

“I hope I get the opportunity to keep moving this project forward because I really believe I can bring success to this club.”