Pontefract Collieries missed out on promotion at the final hurdle when they lost their Evo-Stik East Division play-off final 3-0 to Brighouse Town.
In front of a bumper crowd of 836 Colls were unable to produce their best football with two goals in the first 12 minutes of the second half sealing their fate after they were one down at the break in what was the biggest game in the club's history.
Maybe the exertions of the midweek semi-final against Ossett United that went to extra-time took too much out of the Ponte players as they struggled to recapture the kind of fast attacking football that has seen them gain two promotions in two years followed by a second place finish in their first season at Evo-Stik League level.
Brighouse, who finished third and had lost twice to Colls in the league, looked sharper from the off and went ahead through Aaron Martin on 32 minutes.
Colls finished the first half stronger and came close when Connor Smythe's free-kick was well saved by goalkeeper Jordan Porter.
But a sloppy start to the second period saw Iwan Heeley extend the visitors' lead within a minute and it was uphill from there.
With Ponte looking shellshocked Martin missed a great chance for Brighouse, but it did not matter as Gabriel Johnson was found in space to make it 3-0.
Colls kept battling to the finish and came close to a consolation goal, but it was not to be as they were left to reflect on it being one game too many this season.
They can look back on a superb campaign when they did more than just consolidate their position at the higher level.
More on the game in Thursday's Pontefract & Castleford Express