Rye United picked up a 3-3 draw in a see-saw game away to Lingfield on Monday.
It means that the Quarterboys will have to win their final game away to champions Crawley Down on Saturday to finish second in Division One of the Sussex County Football League.
In a strong wind and on a bobbly pitch, Rye went 2-0 down in the first 10 minutes but were level by half time thanks to goals from an inspired Danny Ellis and Shaun Loft.
Jack Dixon put Rye ahead and they looked like moving within a point of second-placed Peacehaven & Telscombe, who have completed their matches, until conceding an equaliser around five minutes from time.
Rye (4-4-1-1): Pelling; Woodley, Loft, Richardson, Hales (D. Clarke); Ellis, Dixon, Maclean, Cole (Gall); Upton; Ramsay. Subs not used: Rose, Winton, Cooper.
Top 5 standings (played 38 matches unless stated): 1 Crawley Down (36) 88, 2 Peacehaven & Telscombe 76 (+36 goal difference), 3 RYE UNITED (37) 73 (+36), 4 Pagham 71, 5 Three Bridges 70.
A full report and preview of the Crawley Down game will appear in Friday’s Rye Observer.