TOWN fans endured heartache after they were cruelly dumped out of the FA Cup 2-1 by Arsenal.
Those who couldn’t make the 200-mile trip to London packed into pubs and bars around town to watch the crunch lunchtime fixture on television.
Despite going a goal down at the break through a Nicklas Bendtner strike which took a wicked deflection off Town skipper Peter Clarke, Town fans took heart after they earned a one man advantage when Arsenal defender Sebastian Squillaci was sent off, leaving fans in confident mood.
Speaking at the interval, Cameron Bruniges, 21, from Deighton, said: “Even before they went down to 10 men we were starting to get on top.
“We have a chance because they’re one of the big teams that can lose to lower league teams.”
Sisters and season-ticket holders, Jagdip and Rav Sohkal, were in a similarly confident mood.
Jagdip said: “I think they’re doing really well, they’re making Arsenal look rubbish.
Rav added: “I just hope they can get a 1-1 result so we can go to the replay.”
Fans’ half-time predictions proved to be spot on.
Town began to dominate and striker Alan Lee equalised 20 minutes into the second half sending fans in Zetland Street boozer Varsity wild.
With just a few minutes to go it looked like the Galpharm club were set for a sensational draw and a replay at home.
But fans’ hopes of being in the hat for the fifth round draw were crushed when referee Mark Clattenburg gave a controversial penalty.
With captain Cesc Fabregas striking it home to make it 2–1 the London-based superstars saw the game out leaving gutted Town supporters to wonder what might have been.
Speaking at the end of the cup-tie fans were united in the opinion that they had been cheated by a poor penalty decision.
Cameron said: “I’m extremely disappointed, there’s no way it was a penalty.
“I’m absolutely devastated but we’ll have to concentrate on the league.
“We’ve got a good chance of getting automatic promotion, second place is definitely there for the taking.”Related content
Former Town striker Mark Lillis also watched the game at the Varsity with his family.
Lillis, who played for Town from 1978 – 1985 and is now the assistant manager at League II outfit Morecambe, said: “I’m disappointed but I thought they were a credit to the town.
“They were unlucky, I don’t think it was a penalty, the ref got it wrong.
“We should push on in the league now and get promotion.”
Promotions worker Sarah Peckett said she was gutted with the result.
“I would rather have lost 6-0 than go out like that,” she said.
“If we’d have been hammered or if it was a stone wall penalty we couldn’t have argued.”
Craig Smith, from Meltham, also slammed the penalty decision.
The 23-year-old said: “It was definitely not a penalty but they played well.
“At the end of the day they didn’t embarrass themselves and you can’t ask for more than that.
“I’m proud of them, they worked their socks off”.