Glenthorne United boss David Blitz is predicting a bright future for his side as they finished off a dramatic season for the club by grabbing a last-minute equaliser to keep alive their automatic promotion hopes against fellow high-flyers Norstar.
Facing a five-way tussle to go up from the JC MSFL Division Four, it looked like a season which has seen Glenthorne's A team fold from the Premier League, would end in defeat for Blitz's men, after an 82nd minute strike by Nick Benson put Norstar ahead.
But a brilliant Jamie Lawrence curler – shortly after a five-minute delay for a dislocated shoulder sustained by David Blackman – kept Glenthorne alive in this top of the table clash.
"We kept going to the end and it paid off," said Blitz who believes that his side, which contains former A team player Dan Lipman, will rebuild the club's reputation - whether they are in Division Three or Four next season.
"As long as another club doesn't sign all our players we hope to keep what we've got," said Blitz, who accepts that his side may be reliant on the league's administrators to decide their promotion fate. "It could come down to how many teams are allowed to go up," he said.
Norstar, who had won every previous home game, struggled to create many chances, and were reliant on their young goalkeeper Ian Weinstein for staying in the game. He made several impressive saves, including a palm away from a free kick and a couple of excellent smothering blocks.
Dan Shafron and Jordan Sapler both hit the bar in a first half for Glenthorne, but the second was a tepid affair that looked like petering out into a goalless draw until a long throw from Josh Gaon was flicked on to Benson who tapped home.
The injury to Blackman – which saw Dr Dan Markeson break from playing duties in a nearby match to offer assistance – acted as a useful time-out for the visitors, who pressed and were eventually rewarded when Lawrence left Weinstein stranded as he floated a shot into the top right corner. Shafron then missed a guilt-edged chance to win it for Glenthorne right at the death.
Norstar B coach Jonny Bunt acknowledged the title was out of his side's hands. "We are now reliant on Redbridge dropping points, so this was a good result for them. Overall I have to say that Glenthorne probably just shaded it so we can't complain about their equaliser."
With their title hopes hanging by a thread, Norstar finish their season against Real Life on Sunday week.
Norstar: Weinstein, Addlestone, Sandzer, Seres, Gaon, Benson, Abrams (sub: Kaflon), Martin, Wolfson, A Lipman (sub: J Kleiman), Franks (sub: Burstein)
Glenthorne: Tiller, Levy, Sapler, Kantor, Stein, Lipman, Crawford (sub: Geppart), Jay (sub: Cohen), Lawrence, Shafron, Blackman