A SEA of sad Swindon Town faces filtered out of Wembley Stadium, while Preston’s fans were having a party.

Despite the result being in little doubt early into the League 1 play-off final, many of the thousands of Robins fans at Wembley stayed behind to applaud Mark Cooper’s side for their valiant efforts over the last nine months.

The 4-0 defeat was a difficult pill to swallow but many supporters accepted they were simply beaten by the better team.

Allan Clarke said: “It has been a great day out but we were just outplayed. It feels absolutely awful to lose.”

While Monica Vernon, 78, had similar thoughts.

She said: “Unfortunately for us, the best team won on the day. This has been my first trip to Wembley to cheer on Town and I’ve had an absolutely fabulous day, other than the result.

“The 5-5 draw with Sheffield United, in the semi-final,was quite simply one of the best games of football that I’ve ever seen.

“My main hope now is that this doesn’t put us in a bad position for next season.

"I really hope that we can come back stronger and challenge for promotion next season.”

A lot of fans felt it was important to stay behind and show their appreciation to the players and staff.

David Winters, 34, who came to the match with his wife Cindy, 32, said: “I don’t quite have the right words to sum up my emotions at the minute.

"Sadly, we just didn’t turn up today. I think it is only fair to say Preston were the better side and I wish them all the best next season.

“But for us to go this far and lose in such a manner is heartbreaking. The only positive was that the game was pretty much over after 10 minutes so we had all match to get used to the feeling.

“It got to a stage where we were just determined to have a good day. We’ve been quite fortunate to come to Wembley a few times over the last couple of years.

“But you never know when you’ll be back so you can’t take coming to see your team play at Wembley for granted.

“I think it is vital to congratulate Mark Cooper and the players for what has been a great season.

"I just hope we can make a few good signings over the summer and challenge again next year.”

There were lots of disappointed fans at Wembley’s coach parks not looking forward to the trip back home.

Jessica Rodgers, 43, said: “It is pretty rubbish now to have to take on the traffic and travel back along the M4.

"I don’t regret coming at all but I had hoped and expected that we’d put up a bit more of a fight.

“We accepted early on that this wasn’t going to be our day but it would have been good to at least see us score a goal.

"Despite being 4-0 down I’m pretty sure the fans would have gone wild if we could have got one or two back.

“It is really sad to be stood here in the car park hearing all the Preston fans celebrating with the fireworks going off.

"But that is life and hopefully we’ll have a promotion to celebrate sooner rather than later.”

Many supporters looked upon the defeat with the classic humour typical of a football fan.

Carl Skeats said: “We were lucky to get zero.”

Richard Edwards said: “We were counting our blessings in the stands that it was only four. There was a time when we were joking it could get to double figures.”

But despite all the sorrow, sadness and slight anger in the air the Robins fans will be back at the County Ground again next season ready to start a new adventure.

Micky Pike said: “We’ll start afresh next time and hopefully we can improve on this year, which has been an amazing adventure.”