Sebastopol Vikings have missed out on a championship by an agonising one point in Football Federation Victoria state league four west.
Vikings picked up three points with as 1-0 win over Western Eagles from their last game of the regular season on Saturday, but so too did ladder leader Point Cook to take out the title.
Sebastopol went into its round 22 fixture second and needing to defeat the Eagles away from home to have its best chance of stealing top position from Point Cook.
However, it also required Point Cook to either lose and draw.
Point Cook defeated Altona North 3-1.
However, finishing outright second keeps the Vikings in contention for promotion. They now enter a two-phase challenge series, needing to win two games to earn a spot in division three next season.
Sebastopol begins this against Lalor United, which finished second in state league four north, at a neutral venue on Saturday.
If they win, Vikings then meet Fawkner, which finished third last in state league three north-west – one place above the automatic drop zone.
Head coach Corey Smith said while disappointed to miss out of the championship, he was more than pleased with the progress the club had made in his first season at the helm.
“It’s been an amazing season.”
He said to have put itself in a position to vie for promotion had been a great achievement.
Smith said his squad was relatively young and less experienced than many rival teams, and would learn a great deal from the year.
Sebastopol went into the last three games needing four points to secure the title.
He said it was disappointing not to get the job done, but every season had ebbs and flows, and table standings over a 22-game season were the best guide to the best side.
Brodie Schumacher scored the winner for Vikings on Saturday.