Barnton 4-1 Cheadle Town (AET)

Eleven minutes.

That's how far away we were from booking ourselves a trip to (as it turned out) Bacup on Saturday in the play-off final and having a crack at elevating ourselves to a position last experienced back in the 1990s.

Eleven minutes. If I've made that sound like a relatively small amount of time with the tacit accusation that the squad "could have at least held on" then that isn't the intention. Far from it. I wouldn't dare insult this excellent squad in such a manner.

To have got within eleven minutes of a play-off final shows how much we have progressed and what an excellent season we have had when all is said and done. We have nothing but our gratitude to Mssrs Hincks, Trucca, Hodson and Summers for getting us this far.

Us. Cheadle Town FC. Unfashionable-but-(hopefully) lovable Cheadle Town FC...and on absolutely no budget whatsoever.

I'm not going to talk about what is possible next season on the back of this, as hyperbole along the lines of "it will be our turn next" and other associated banal platitudes won't heal the wounds or cheer anybody up at this moment in time. It will hurt for a while and we can leave such talk until August when we'll know whether we have been able to keep this current roster together and fend off any interested parties.

The best of British to Barnton in the play-off final. On our three visits to Townfield we have always been made to feel very welcome and, should they be victorious this weekend, it will be a visit that will be sorely missed.

On a long night brought about by extra time, it was that supplementary thirty minutes that did for us.

Six minutes into it a penalty was awarded, argued about vehemently and blasted home by Kevin Towey because, as his history at this level of football will tell you, that's what he does best.

That gave Barnton a 2-1 lead and it was moment from which we never really recovered or responded to.

Three minutes later and Mr Towey rifled in a free-kick from the edge of the area that squirmed through the hands of Steve Piggott and gave the hosts clear sight of Saturday.

If we could snatch a goal back then it was game on and it nearly came about thanks to a Liam Tongue free-kick, but the Barnton keeper did well to save it.

All was lost with four minutes of extra time remaining as Barnton's Rigby didn't give up hope on a loose ball and caught Steve Piggott out in two minds, lobbing it over him and into the corner of the net.

Barnton's third proved to be Kevin Towey's hat-trick as his first was the real heartbreaker on 79 minutes when his sheer persistence drove him through our defence to tuck home past Piggott. Heartbreaking because some 15 minutes earlier Rick Whyatt had gone on a mazy run and cracked the post with a low drive; such are the small margins in football.

The hosts did have the better of the second half but we certainly controlled the first, albeit being a half where chances were at a premium...

...but when our chance came it was a moment of brilliance, and let this match report end with that one moment, a happy note, and Liam Tongue confirming his place at the top of the goalscoring tree for Cheadle Town FC, 2015-16.

For when he got hold of the ball with a crisper-than-crisp drive on the 35th minute and that net billowed emphatically, we believed, we smiled, we cheered and we couldn't have been happier all season....

TEAM: Piggott, Dunn, Pearson, Trucca, Young, Moores, Smallwood (Stevenson), Tongue, M Sherrington (Horan), Whyatt, Magida (Nsimbe). SUBS: Horan, Stevenson, McLaughlin, Nsimbe.