OUR FA Cup bubble finally burst last Sunday with a 2-1 defeat by Cardiff City.

We always knew it would be a hard game and they looked a well-organised side. But having said that, going out of the competition is hard to bear, especially when the prospect of reaching the fifth round for the first time in the club's history was there.

But, as the dust settles, we can reflect on a quite remarkable run.

History tells us that we have beaten more higher-graded sides this season than in any previous season with the defeats of League 1 Leeds, Hartlepool and Tranmere.

Among those matches, there were some really outstanding performances and performers.

There are two spin-offs from this cup run.

Firstly, the experience gained by the players, the younger ones in particular, of going to places lie Elland Road, playing against better players than we normally do.

Even in the Cardiff game, I could see assurance among some of the individuals in our team that should stand us good stead for the rest of the season in the league campaign.

And, of course, there is the financial aspect of a good cup run.

The televised game against Leeds produced £75,000 for us and the share of gates from six matches is all welcome income which more than makes up for the slight disappointment of the level of attendances for our league games, considering that we are competing at the top of the table.

We can now trot out the old cliche that we can once again concentrate on the league and our quest to stay the course at the top of the table.

While we have been performing in the FA Cup, a lot of the sides around us have been playing league matches so that we find ourselves, in certain cases, two matches behind other teams.

There is a lot of optimism still about the club and about the team that we can continue with the challenge either for an automatic promotion slot or, at very least, a play-off place.

So we hope that many of those supporters who enjoyed the cup run will continue to support the team through the many important league matches that we have got coming up at Edgar Street.

Finally, I would like to take the opportunity of thanking the administration staff, the stewards and the police for all the hard work that went into organising and supervising what could have been a very difficult event last Sunday.

The only problem that we had was a number of forged tickets being presented at the turnstiles. But, other than that, a game which could have produced problems seemed to go off fairly smoothly and that reflects greatly on the organisation.