Crook Town have a glorious history and this year's FA Vase run presented an opportunity for the team of 2006 to become local heroes for a new generation.

At the start of the season chances of the Vase being Crook's first piece of silverware for 40 years were slim.

Seven wins later and, by the very nature of a knockout competition, the odds had shortened but the opposition got tougher for Alan Oliver's side.

On Saturday they faced Bury Town, a team third in their league while, in comparison, Crook are currently not even in the top 30 of the two Arngrove Northern League divisions combined. The form guide favoured the Suffolk side too.

But the Vase had provided a welcome distraction from Crook's humdrum league season, they had risen to the challenge magnificently so hopes were high.

In reaching the quarter-finals of one of the most prestigious competitions in non-league football they had surpassed anything they had achieved previously in the Vase while they were backed by almost 2,000 fans at the Millfield - to see what they hoped would be legends in the making.

Jimmy McMillen, Bobby Davison, Bill Jeffs and Danny McCourt, four heroes of Crook's FA Amateur Cup days in the 1950s and 60s, were among the home side's biggest crowd for 30 years, hoping to pass on their legends baton.

But with only 37 seconds gone the signs were ominous. Striker Roy Allen, presented with a great opportunity from 16 yards, slipped with only the keeper to beat and in doing so fluffed a glorious chance.

The terrible pitch was to blame.

Though Davison and friends no doubt performed on surfaces just as bad every week in their day, it was covered in sand and responsible for countless inaccurate passes and miskicks which caused embarrassment all afternoon.

Allen's gaffe was an ominous sign and, despite dominating possession in a second half in which Bury rarely ventured forward, it proved to be one of the few clear chances Crook created.

The second fell to Danny Mellanby 20 minutes later, but Scott Field's challenge decked the forward and that resulted in him being stretchered off and with him went a great deal of Crook's hopes.

"Losing Danny was a blow because he is a massive player for us," reflected a downbeat Oliver who put on a brave face afterwards, though the pain of missing out on a two-legged semi-final was clear.

"Danny would have made things happen for us. He could have scored or set one up, who knows what would have happened?"

Playing in the colours of local racehorse owner Graham Wylie, Crook galloped to the quarter finals with some high-scoring victories but despite Allen's fluffed early chance, the first half only occasionally sprang into life with the home side more threatening.

With each side battling to cope with the pitch and Bury content to sit back, the first half lacked momentum so it was a surprise when the visitors scored seven minutes before the break.

An attack up the left saw striker James Tatham first to meet the resulting cross in the six-yard box, he was stopped by Dean Gordon but at the second attempt Bury's No. 9 stabbed home.

The goal stunned Crook who had not looked in danger but they were swiftly back into the contest and had two penalty appeals before half-time, though both were correctly called by the referee.

Tatham wasted a glorious chance just after the break, spooning over the bar after Gordon let the ball roll under his boot but Crook went on to boss the second half with the marauding former Middlesbrough left-back taking his chances to get forward.

But it was Crook right-back Jamie Harwood who came close to equalising with a right-wing cross that floated towards goal. Keeper Paul Barber back-peddled to tip it over and seconds later Lee Smith headed Sam Vernalls' cross off the goal line as Crook cranked up the pressure.

Bury restricted Crook to long-range efforts and were on the backfoot, so it was ironic that it was the visitors who created the best chances.

On the break they attacked, the next opportunity falling to Tatham but this time he blazed over with only Crook keeper Simon Hall to beat.

Just when Crook could have done with a bobble to deceive the Bury keeper, the ball flew straight and true from the boot of Karl Everett 25 yards out and although his strike looked destined for the bottom corner, Barber managed to tip it wide magnificently.

It was a stunning save though Tatham should have put the seal on it in the 63rd minute were it not for yet another shocking miss, this time shooting wide after Michael Steward had an effort parried by Hall.

Crook launched one final hurrah, throwing players forward in search of an equaliser that would have taken the tie to extra-time and prolonged the team's effort to recapture the halcyon days of half a century ago.

But they lacked a moment of quality that perhaps Mellanby could have provided.

Bury's gameplan worked a treat, soaking up pressure and attacking on the break, but it left Oliver a frustrated man.

But he was big enough to admit Crook had wasted their own chances, he said: "They (Bury) were nothing really. I went to watch them last week and I could see they were nothing to worry about but you cannot tell your players that otherwise they would have had the wrong attitude.

"The ball just would not drop for us in the box, we had all the ball and loads of chances but it just did not happen for us.

"I have got no complaints because if you miss your chances then you do not deserve to win.

"It just was not to be. When the keeper made that save in his bottom right corner from Everett, I just knew it was not going to be our day."