ANDY Welsh admitted he was ‘gutted’ after Bury AFC were beaten in a penalty shoot-out by Padiham in the Macron Cup to end their hopes of winning the double.

But the AFC boss says the loss can take nothing away from what has been a memorable season after winning the NWCL First Division North title in their first full season in the league.

AFC were beaten 7-6 in the shoot-out after the third round clash at the Neuven Stadium finished goalless after 90 minutes. Welsh said his players looked tired after a long and gruelling campaign but said a failure to take their chances in normal time proved costly.

“I thought it looked like a pre-season game or an end-of-season game where both teams were a bit leggy,” said Welsh.

“We had to make a few changes but we had enough chances to win the game, a couple of one-on-ones, hit the post but it just wasn’t to be.”

He added: “I am absolutely gutted that we have gone out and the lads are, we just looked a bit tired and I can’t fault them for that. But, again, fantastic crowd, the fans were unbelievable in the penalty shoot-out as well but when it goes to pens, it is always a lottery.

“Padiham got their goals, we didn’t.”

“We have lost on pens but it is not going to tarnish our objective which was to get promotion and that is exactly what we have done.”

Welsh said the cup campaign - coming at the end of the season - had proved difficult especially after the highs of winning the title and a number of players unavailable.

“If I am being honest, it has been tough for the players,” he said. “Certainly after we won the league, we didn’t really know what was happening with the league cup and then all of a sudden we don’t know what day it is.

“It has been hard to organise at times not that is an excuse but some of the lads had things booked in.”