Lancaster City boss Phil Brown praised his side’s will to win as they got over the line in the Evo-Stik First Division North title race.
After weeks of twists and turns a 5-2 final-day win at Glossop North End saw the Dolly Blues pip Farsley Celtic to the championship and promotion.
Both sides dropped points in a nervy final few games of the season with the Dolly Blues ultimately finishing a point clear meaning they will ply their trade in the Premier Division come August.
Brown’s side had led the table by nine points at one point as Farsley had games in hand.
The Celts stormed back and could have streaked clear themselves but both had unexpected wobbles against sides further down the table meaning it went down to the final game of the season.
City knew a win would be enough but Farsley were waiting in the wings, their 5-0 victory at Kendal Town ultimately in vain thanks to a dazzling Dollies display in the Peak District.
“It’s difficult to win every game like you do it January or February,” said Brown.
“Players are human beings, the pressure mounts, they get fatigued mentally and physically.
“At the end of the season you’re not going to be the same as you are in early or mid season for all those reasons I’ve just mentioned.
“But you’ve got to stick at it, got to keep believing and you’ve got to see it through.
“We had enough points on the board to ride a bit of a rocky patch, Farsley didn’t.
“They didn’t ride that patch as well as us. I’m not having a go at all because Farsley have been brilliant this season, it’s been really close and really exciting.
“It’s fine lines and we just managed to come out on top.”
Many fans feared dropping into the play-offs.
Not only does it represent something of an end of season lottery but many were casting their minds back to the 2009-2010 season.
Brown was assistant manager to Tony Hesketh when City ran Halifax close all season, amassing 96 points as they finished second.
The Dolly Blues then agonisingly lost out to Colwyn Bay in the play-off final at Giant Axe, a side who had finished 21 points below them in the final standings.
“Earlier on in the season quite a few times it felt just like 2009-2010,” said Brown.
“We were at the top and then we got pegged back.
“We had a few dodgy games, it was just like it.
“But as it went on and Farsley didn’t capitalise on our mistakes and we sort of didn’t capitalise on theirs, I distanced myself from that picture.
“It felt a bit different at that point but before the run-in it had similarities to it.
“As we got near the line it was just game-by-game.”