STAGS skipper Adam Murray went through the pain barrier until his body simply gave up on him in Saturday’s 1-0 FA Trophy final defeat.
Murray soldiered on with a bad back but his groin finally went on him as he tried to cover every blade of grass for the cause.
“I have never, ever cramped up before but after 60 minutes I had cramp,” he said after Darlington snatched a heartbreaking winner in injury time of extra.
“I don’t know if it was the occasion or the fact I hadn’t trained for a week but it was a grind.
“I was up there playing with Paul Connor who wasn’t 100 per cent fit either. The two of us tried to help each other out as much as we could.”
He added: “I said to the lads in the dressing room that for this club and this team to get to Wembley this season is a minor miracle with what has been thrown at us.
“We couldn’t even train on grass for six weeks.
“For us not to be fighting relegation and finishing mid-table and getting to a major final, the lads have got to be proud of themselves
“With the situation the club was in it didn’t matter who was in charge, it would have been a grind.
“But hats off to the gaffer, he came in and brought the group together. I said before that it was an absolute shambles at the time - there were so many cliques in there and it was one of the worst dressing rooms I have ever come into.
“He brought everyone together to the point where one of the hardest blokes I know is sat in there crying in the bath. That is what this means to this team.
“To lose a final in that manner is even worse. But set pieces have been our weakness. We have to learn from this game and move forwards.
“Next season hopefully we will bring in better quality players and this venue and this occasion will become a more regular thing.
“Our fans were awesome today. They got behind us, gave us everything. They did all we could ask of them and I want to thank them for that.”