HUNDREDS of proud fans sung the praises of their beloved Swifts from the first whistle to the last during a memorable FA Cup tie.

More than 250 fans made the eight hour round trip and while the result on the pitch did not go their way it was a day nobody connected to the club will forget.

Among the travelling hoard was Barry Peake.

He said: “It was a fantastic day for everyone involved with the club.

“We all enjoyed ourselves despite the result because we gave a really good account of ourselves.

“I think heading into the game we knew it was maybe that one step too far, but the boys on the pitch should come away with their heads held high.

“They did us proud and deserved all the backing they got from the stands.

“They put Heybridge on the map. People who didn’t know about us before hopefully know what we are about now.”

Avid fan Josh Longman added: “The game was absolutely brilliant. Not once did I see a single one of our players’ heads drop. They gave it their all and gave Exeter a test.

“We got a goal as well. It made our trip worthwhile as we had never scored in this stage of the competition previously.

“But we were going to be happy no matter the score, just as long as the players gave it their all and we didn’t stop singing.”

Chris Daines, club secretary, opted out of the glamour of the League Two boardroom and sat in the away end, braving the cold, wind and occasional rain.

He said: “I’ve never been one for the boardroom.

“It was an incredible atmosphere. I had goose bumps when the players were walking out, and I don’t mind saying I had a tear in my eye at the end.

“To take that sort of crowd that far was fantastic.

“I am very proud of everyone involved in the club, from the team, to the management, to the support.”

On the game, Chris was delighted with the account of themselves the Swifts gave.

He added: “At half time we were quite chuffed with ourselves.

“And even after the two goals we never threw in the towel.

“It was great for Sam (Bantick) to score as well.

“He was getting a bit of a rough time of it from the boys because the name on his shirt was wrong.

“Then his name was spelt wrong on the team sheet, so it was great he could get on the score sheet.

“Plus it was the Swifts first every goal in the FA Cup proper.”

Many went down to the south west for the weekend to make the most of the occasion and it is hoped many more will now start attending regularly after the special weekend away for all those who made the effort.