After a long and unpredictable season, the curtain came down on another Blue Square Premier campaign with still a couple of issues to be decided. Who would win the title and who would fill that last relegation place and join Barrow, Ebbsfleet and Telford in the sixth tier of English football next season.
After beating Hereford to return to the top of the league on Tuesday night, all that was left to do for Mansfield Town was a victory on the last day of the season at home to the Red Dragons to seal the Blue Square Premier title and return to the Football League after a five year absence. Matt Green’s 40th minute penalty after Louie Briscoe had been felled was enough to see the hosts home and dry and within seconds of the final whistle the obligatory pitch invasion was in full effect.
The Stags ended up winning the league by two points from Kidderminster Harriers who after their amazing climb up the table in recent month’s just wasn’t enough to guarantee automatic promotion. Their 4-0 victory at home to Stockport County (who became the fourth and final team relegated after this result) ended up being in vain, despite an amazing second half performance that saw all four goals coming in the space of 25 minutes (two from Anthony Malbon and a goal each from Cheyenne Dunkley and Martin Devaney) sparked life into a game marred by crowd trouble after some of the 1200 Hatters fans invaded the pitch and ugly scenes ensued and players of both teams were attacked.
The other playoff spots had already been sealed and Grimsby played Newport and recorded a comfortable 3-0 win with goals coming from Jamie Devitt, Andi Thanoj and Liam Hearn, these two will now meet again in the play offs with Wrexham and Kidderminster meeting in the other semi-final.
Mansfield’s Matt Green ended the season as the top scorer in the league with 25 goals, leaving Adam Cunnington of Tamworth and Kidderminster’s Michael Gash trailing on 21 goals. Conference North Champions Chester FC completed their phoenix like return with their third successive promotion back into the Conference and will be joined by Welling United of the Conference South, with the playoffs currently in progress to decide the other side from each league to be promoted.