Michael Gash struck an extra-time winner to earn King’s Lynn Town promotion to National League North with a 3-2 win at Warrington Town.
An Andy Marriott penalty five minutes from time forced extra time after a brace of Ben Garrity headers had put the Yellows in front.
Garrity’s first cancelled out Jordan Richards opener following a lively start by the Southern League Central play-off champions, and they eventually saw off their Northern Premier League counterparts.
Delighted Lynn boss Ian Culverhouse said: “It’s the biggest achievement of my career. We gambled with three at the back and got the penalty late on, and Adam has stepped up and taken it so coolly.”
King’s Lynn forced a corner inside the first 60 seconds and fired an early warning shot at Tony McMillan’s goal, the excellent Adam Marriott turning and shooting wide on four minutes.
The first real look the Yellows had at goal came on 13 minutes when Jack Mackreth nipped in front of ‘keeper Alexander Street, dragged the ‘keeper wide and out of his goal, but Street would get back to punch away the subsequent Dylan Vassallo cross.
King’s Lynn took a lead their efforts deserved on 15 minutes, a cross from Ross Barrow was cleared only as far as Richards who ran on to it and shot first time into the far corner.
Within two minutes, it was all square again. Mackreth scampered down the right, his cross isn’t cleared and Tony Gray clipped it back over for Garrity, who scored two headers in the play-off semi-final win over Nantwich Town, to nod home.
King’s Lynn continued to enjoy a lot of possession and territory though, but it was Warrington who would have the best chance approaching half-time, Vassallorunning through midfield and releasing Mackreth, his first touch was heavy giving Street enough time to get out and get an outstretched leg to Mackreth’s poke goalwards.
The visitors came out strong at the start of the second half too, and Michael Clunan pulled back for Marriott who forced a sharp save from McMillan.
They will have been disappointed to fall behind on the hour mark as Warrington once again showed their set-piece prowess, Vassallo’s clipped corner headed superbly into the top corner by Garrity.
Substitute Josh Amis could have scored a third for the Yellows when the ball was played in to him at the near post, his turn and shot deflected wide.
As time went on, it looked like the Yellows might have done enough but Marriott was the thorn in their side.
He beat a man on the edge and then went down in the box under a clumsy challenge by Robbie Evans, stepped up and converted the resulting spot kick.
King’s Lynn could have won it in normal time, substitute Ryan Hawkins drilling a shot that forced a superb save out of McMillan, before Dave Raven hacked away the rebound.
Extra time followed and Hawkins forced another good save from McMillan with an almost carbon copy shot.
Warrington were struggling to carve clear cut chances, a tame free-kick by Vassallo was comfortably saved, but on 103 minutes a chance fell to Amis in the box and he brought the best out of Street who saved with his legs.
Gash and Marriott had caused Warrington problems all afternoon, and they proved to be the match winners in the end. Gash had a shot from the corner of the box that was blocked, it came back to him, and he shot through a ruck of bodies and found the bottom far corner just five minutes from the end of extra time.
A disappointed Yellows boss Paul Carden said: “They were the better team. They had more players in their 11 that played better than ours and when that happens the result usually goes against you.
“But we had some big chances. We didn’t take them and we were punished.”
Verdict: It was always going to be heartbreak for one of these teams, but to lose it in extra-time after conceding a late penalty makes it even worse for Warrington. King’s Lynn were the better team and deserved their win, left-back Frazer Tyler-Blake along with forwards Michael Gash and Adam Marriott were excellent.