HARRIERS boss Andy Thorn hailed his players after their FA Cup heroics against Premier League Sunderland.
While the Premier League side prevailed thanks to Charis Mavrius's fifth minute strike, the Carpetmen impressively rallied to frustrate the home side.
A solid rearguard performance means Harriers can return to Worcestershire with their heads held high.
Thorn said: "I was immensely proud of the players, I thought they were magnificent.
"We set our stall out, we knew it would be really tough coming to a Premiership outfit.
"When we conceded as early a we did you can end up with a cricket score but I was really pleased with the way we regrouped and showed the character we did and belief in what we're trying to do at the club.
"For us to be in our dressing disappointed not to be coming away with a draw, just speaks volumes for the performance."
While Harriers were forced to defend solidly for most the game, they had two gilt edge chances to level the scores.
Michael Gash was denied by keeper Oscar Ustari in the first half and Freddie Ladapo shot wide late on.
Thorn added: "To be fair he [Gash] didn't do anything wrong, the keeper has pulled off a maginificent save. On another day that would have gone in.
"Freddie had a squeak at the end and we had a few balls go across the box.
"To be fair with the way we defended and worked as a team, we had done a lot of work on organisation - I thought apart from their goal I thought their efforts were long range.
"I didn't think we really got opened up until we went more open late on. I thought before that we were really comfortable."
Harriers were cheered on by an impressive 3,800 travelling army, win 25,801 watching in the Stadium of Light.
"It has been an unbelievable week for the club," added Thorn.
"The way we built up for the game, the exposure, the way everybody has dealt with it in a really professional manner.
"The icing on the cake would have been the draw but to be fair the icing on the cake was the performance because I am immensely proud of the players.
"We're a Conference team coming to a Premier League club and I just thought the performance was worthy of a league club."