Southport manager Gary Brabin says he was "proud" of the way his team performed after their injury-time FA Cup loss at Championship side Derby.
The Conference side held out until the 92nd minute when Rams striker Chris Martin converted a penalty.
Richard Brodie and Luke Foster had earlier wasted good chances for Southport to take the lead.
"I said I wanted to leave here proud of the lads, and I'm proud of every single one of them," said Brabin.
He told BBC Radio Merseyside: "I thought it was an excellent performance. The whole group have been different class since we've come here.
"It's cruel, but that's football and I'm proud of the lads."
Brabin, 43, returned to the club as boss in October and has helped move the Sandgrounders out of the relegation places.
Southport, who were in the third round for the first time since 1999, are a part-time side and were facing a team 89 places above them them in the league pyramid.
"I think the chairman was probably clinging onto his seat hoping for a replay," added Brabin. "Because financially for the club it would have been fantastic reward.
"It would be wrong of me to pick the bones in a 93rd-minute goal, it's harsh but that is football."