Hastings United's footballers suffered an agonising extra-time defeat in the FA Trophy tonight (Wednesday).
United were edged out 3-2 away to South Park in a dramatic second round qualifying replay, with the winning goal coming right at the death.
The decisive strike from Kieran Lavery in the 120th minute was the only time United were behind in the entire tie having twice led tonight and also been ahead in the 1-1 draw at The Pilot Field on Saturday.
United were missing Stephen Butcher, Sam Cole and Jack Harris through injury so Tom Climpson came in at full-back with Sam Cruttwell reverting to his more familiar midfield role.
Matt Bodkin opened the scoring in the 22nd minute with a shot which went in off South Park goalkeeper James Wastell after he latched on to Harry Stannard's throughball.
United led 1-0 at the break, but South Park cranked up the pressure during the second half and hit the post before Joe Jackson deservedly brought them level in the 80th minute.
Although United were largely hanging on during the remainder of normal time, they almost won it late on when Bodkin was denied by a fabulous save from Wastell.
United then regained the advantage in the eighth minute of extra-time when Ollie Rowe came up from the back to head home at a free kick.
But United couldn't see it through. South Park restored parity again in the 114th minute with a similar goal to their first, this time scored by James McElligitt.
With the prospect of a penalty shoot-out looming, South Park nicked the victory when Lavery headed home a corner at the near post.
South Park's reward is a trip to National League South club Oxford City in third round qualifying on Saturday November 26, while United suddenly find themselves eliminated from all of this season's knockout competitions.
United: Pidgeley; Davies, Watt (Ellis), Rowe, Climpson; Cruttwell, Cogan, Johnson (Pritchard); Bodkin, Stannard (Jarvis); Collin. Attendance: 84.
See our comprehensive sports coverage in the Observer every Friday.
Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.
Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.
1 Make this website your homepage
2 Like our Facebook page at facebook.com/pages/Sport-Sussex
3 Follow us on Twitter @SportSussex
4 Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.
And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!