HARWICH and Parkeston manager Kieron Shelley was proud of both his “brave” players and the club’s supporters during Monday’s derby against Little Oakley.

The Shrimpers ultimately finished empty-handed in the Thurlow Nunn League first division south contest, conceding a second-half winner and losing 2-1.

Nevertheless, Shelley felt it was a special day for his club and the area, with a bumper crowd of nearly 650 flocking to the sun-drenched Royal Oak.

And he was delighted with his players’ performance, saying they were unfortunate to finish on the losing side.

“A point apiece would have been a fair result and I’d have been happy with that,” he said.

“I was really proud of the boys, our fans and the whole club.

“I’m proud of the way we tried to play football and even after making a mistake within a couple of minutes, we didn’t let it affect us.

“There was no arguing or finger-pointing.

“We just rolled our sleeves up and got the ball back on the floor.

“The boys showed real energy, trying to produce attacking football, and ran their hearts out.

“They didn’t deserve to be on the losing side and our fans appreciated the way we played.

“Our boys were brave and have got nothing to feel ashamed of.

“They gave everything for the badge and weren’t too downhearted afterwards, thankfully.

“They were bitterly disappointed, of course, but also proud of the way they played and the way we’re trying to play with the ball on the deck.”

Shelley relished the occasion and felt the huge attendance was great for both clubs and football across Harwich.

“The whole town and area should be proud,” he said.

“(Oakley boss) Matty (Carmichael) deserves so much credit for what he’s doing down the road.

“He’s stamping his mark on the club and wants to make a difference to the next group of players coming through at Oakley.

“I expect big things from them next year and it was nice for both of us to stand by our dugouts and look across at all those people, seeing what our clubs are doing for football in Harwich.

“It’s a small town and yet there was the best part of 700 people floating around our club on Monday afternoon. Amazing.

“You’re not going to see many crowds like that at this level of football and if we keep playing football like that, they’ll come back.

“People were coming up to me afterwards saying ‘head up, well played, we enjoyed the game’.

“That’s so important to us and means a lot."