Marlon Pack suffered Wembley heartbreak after losing in yesterday’s League One play-off final.
The Buckland youngster was dreaming of leading Cheltenham to victory over Crewe.
Victory would have put his side in the same division as Pompey next season – just a year after Pack was shown the Fratton Park exit.
But Crewe ran out 2-0 winners to deny him a return to the club he grew up supporting.
Pack has been one of the outstanding performers for Cheltenham this season and scored a stunning free-kick in their semi-final success over Torquay.
The 21-year-old’s performances saw him recognised at the Football League awards, taking runner-up behind ex-Pompey team-mate Matt Ritchie in the division’s player-of-the-season category.
Central-midfielder Pack played 84 minutes in the sweltering Wembley heat yesterday. But goals from Nick Powell and Byron Moore claimed the League One spot for Crewe.
Pack was controversially released at Pompey by Steve Cotterill last summer but bounced back to rebuild his career at Cheltenham.
Now the former City of Portsmouth Boys pupil will be hoping to help his side recover from yesterday’s blow and stage another promotion push.