This one is going to smart for a while.
Time may allow us to reflect, to think more positively about the contribution our great team made to the best FA Cup semi-final in recent history, but for now, we just suffer.
One kick from the final is how I’ll always characterise this epic, dramatic, soul-destroying defeat.
The dream that became a nightmare.
Si Senior to adiós in the cruelest manner possible.
As soon as that booming penalty hit the net, everything that followed felt like a foregone conclusion.
Should it have been given? Probably, but I’ve certainly seen plenty of similar appeals turned away.
The neutral might say it was just reward for Watford’s character and perseverence in a game that was drifting away from them until Gerard Deulofeu drifted them back in with that beautifully inventive finish.
They built the pressure, piled the bodies forward and ultimately extracted the mistake from Dendoncker that will haunt the unfortunate Belgian for the rest of his career.
It had all been going so well.
In an end-to-end first half, Wolves, as they so often do found the big moment through some quick thinking and a trademark sneak attack from Matt Doherty.
If we were perhaps slightly fortunate to be ahead at the interval after Andre Gray wasted a glorious opening and Conor Coady made that list ditch block – the second goal had been coming.
Watford were intent on pushing straight from the restart, surrendering space that Jota and Jimenez gleefully gobbled up.
Either side of Raul Jimenez’ wonderful strike
While most will rightly lament the freedom given to Deulofeu to pick his spot and Dendoncker’s lazy leg, not putting the game away with a third goal was just as costly.
Not that they didn’t try.
Wolves made it end-to-end and as a consequence never kept the ball well enough or for long enough to drain the momentum out of increasingly desperate opposition.
Massive credit to Watford. They kept coming and coming and resurrected the contest in a way Wolves have looked incapable when presented with similar challenges.
And even in extra time, there was the definite sense they were biding their time, waiting for that break of the ball that would afford their star man the opportunity he needed. Again, he took it superbly.
Wolves had no response. Nuno had pushed all his chips into the middle by this point and the decision to hook Neves and particularly Jota in those dying moments may be one he looks back on with regret.
Without the impetus of the team’s key influencers, it never felt like there was a way back, despite some huffing and puffing and a well-worked Ivan Cavaleiro’s sighter he couldn’t squeeze home.
And that was that. Over and out.
As glorious as this comeback was for them, it was twice as sickening for the gold and black hoard who supported every bit as vociferously as anyone could
The mural, the sombreros, the deafening din that only
In a season and a game where it looked meant to be, it wasn’t to be and that’s a great shame.
The manner of the defeat makes it a particularly sour note in a remarkable run for our club, but as Nuno points out, the team can learn and grow from this defeat.
And their rapid growth offers some consolation.
If Wolves are going where we think they’re going we definitely won’t have to wait another 21 years for a second bite.
We lick our wounds, move on and hope this is the beginning and not the end.