Bedlington Terriers ended the season on a high as they held Shildon to a 1-1 draw at Welfare Park.
Hundreds of visiting fans turned up hoping to see their side gain the three points needed to overhaul Marske at the top of the Northern League table and secure the title.
But a strong defensive display from start to finish from the home side ensured there were no celebrations on Bedlington’s turf.
Lee Scott scored just before half-time after beating the offside trap which saw the hosts go in at the break with the lead.
Billy Greulich-Smith equalised with 25 minutes to go, but the Terriers, who had chances to win the game, held on which prevented the Railwaymen lifting the trophy.
Bedlington went into the game second bottom of the form table and winless in 11 games, and, as expected, the visitors went on the front foot from the outset.
It took just over a minute for the visitors to register their first shot on target, Lee Scroggins fired low but Kevin Morton saved well down low.
The storyline of Shildon’s attack versus Bedlington’s defence almost turned on its head when Andrew Keenan flick-on from a corner was headed clear at the near post.
Although the visitors threatened it was Bedlington who had the next big chance, but Jonathan Wright sliced his effort wide.
Daniel Moore and Mark Hudson had wasted attempts before Bedlington countered from the latter’s wasted effort just after the half hour mark.
Scott beat the counter attack and latched upon Davison’s clever ball over the top, which caused the defence to stop, and the striker made no mistake and curled his shot round the keeper.
There was a moment of madness in the Terriers penalty area when Danny Sayer headed an effort off the line and onto the bar and four chances were blocked by bodies thrown in the way.
It was desperate defending, but it was also resolute and stopped the visitors.
Scott went through again before the break but his effort was tipped over the bar.
Former Terriers man Mark Doninger was brought off at half-time as the visitors looked to get back into the game quickly, but Bedlington’s solid performance continued form the kick-off.
The home side almost increased their lead when substitute Adam Harvey worked the ball well down the flank but Scott’s shot ended up going for a throw-in.
The Terriers almost doubled their lead on the hour, Jordan Nellis got the better of his man and after breaking through he shot early and the chance was gone.
Bedlington’s defensive wall was broken on 65 minutes when Ben Wood floated a cross in and after using his height to get above the defenders, Greulich-Smith equalised.
Wave after wave of attacks came from the Railwaymen, but Wood found his shot saved well, and once again Sayer produced a match-saving clearance when he cleared the cross over the bar from two yards out.
The visitors’ only real chance in the final ten minutes was a free kick which went wide of the post.
Although Gary Forrest’s men were producing the chances, it was Bedlington who found themselves with two clear-cut chances to seal all three points late on.
Harvey’s curling attempt was well saved, and he turned provider when he played through Scott, but the out-coming keeper put him off and the chance was gone.
After three minutes of nerve-wracking additional minutes, the game was over, Bedlington had held Shildon and their hopes of their first title in 75 years had gone.
A complete performance was rewarded and the elation was clear to see at the final whistle form every fan, player and staff associated with the Terriers.
The hosts finished the season in 17th place, with Shildon finishing second behind champions Marske United.
Bedlington: K Morton, K Nellis, Sayer, Wright, Little, Walmsley, Watson, Davison, Scott, Keenan (Harvey 50), J Nellis. Subs not used: Ferrell, Glasper, Calvert, Young.