A brilliant second half display against Staines Town by 10-man Eastbourne Borough saw Tommy Widdrington’s men finish their season on a high.
Elliott Charles claimed two second half goals but the scoreline will be remembered for a tremendous team effort after Gary Hart was dismissed in the 38th minute.
The final day victory saw Borough finish the season in 12th spot on 51 points from 42 matches.
The main talking point of an otherwise dull first half came in the 38th minute.
Hart, had already received a yellow card on 15 minutes for a foul, but the experienced utility man lunged in once again and the referee sent the former Brighton man off.
Borough saw it through to the break without too much danger and Tommy Widdrington re-organised his men during the interval.
The home side came out and dominated Staines despite their numerical disadvantage.
Simon Johnson, who replaced Jamie Smith after Hart’s dismissal, was superb in midfield.
Johnson was named supporters’ player off the year before the game and performed with an extra spring in his step throughout.
It was his piercing ball from midfield that picked out Darren Lok on 58 minutes. Lok’s effort fell to the feet of Elliott Charles and he made no mistake from six yards out and opened the scoring.
Widdrington’s men continued to dominate. Jonte Smith had a decent appeal for a penalty waved away but Charles soon added a second.
Frankie Raymond delivered a corner and Charles rose the highest to power in a header - Borough’s second and his 14th goal of a successful season.
Charles so nearly signed off the season with hat-trick but another header, this time from Charlie Gorman’s set piece, rebounded off the foot of the post.
It was a fine second half performance and allowed Widdrington’s men to finish their season on a real high in front of their home support.
There was even time for Borough legend Darren Baker to have one last outing at the Lane.
Baker came on with 10 minutes remaining to thunderous applause as he made his 952nd appearance in an incredible career that has spanned 20 years.
After the match boss Widdrington said, “It was really important for us to go out on a high. I’m really pleased for the players but more so for the punters. We would have been in the top six if it was down to away form so the fact we have not been able to re-produce that at the Lane has been a disappointing aspect to this season.
“So I’m really pleased that we put on a show for the supporters.
“When we went down to 10-men at no stage did I have my mind set on trying to see it out. I always felt we had the tools to win it.”
Of Darren Baker’s 10-minute cameo performance, he added, “The word legend gets banded about a lot in football but as far as Eastbourne Borough goes, he is the Eastbourne Borough legend.”
See Tuesday’s Gazette for match report, pictures and reaction.
Eastbourne Borough: Potter, Adelsbury (Baker 85), Raymond, Hart, Rowe, Uddin, Jamie Smith (Johnson 38), Aldred, Charles, Lok, Jonte Smith (Gorman 74).
Subs not used: Baker, Ehui, Cole.
Staines Town: Merson, Pashaj, Worsfold, Ferrell, Neville, Sotonwa, Wheeler, Ferguson (Taylor 59), Garrod (Mills 73), Beadle, Lodge.
Subs not used: Bor, Page, Turner
MoM: Darren Lok