A tremendous battle for the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League First Division South title has ultimately been decided by the FA after it was revealed that Witton Albion will be deducted three points for fielding an ineligible player against Stocksbridge Park Steels on February 11th.
Shaw Lane AFC virtually sealed the title anyway on Easter Monday when their 2-0 win at Kidsgrove Athletic lifted them three points in front of Albion with a plus-8 goal advantage.
However, this news means they can celebrate ahead of the final games on Saturday.
Witton`s penalty relates to the club’s failure to re-register Tolani Omatola in time for this fixture.
The player has been on loan from Vanarama National League side Tranmere Rovers, which requires the player to be re-registered with both the Football Association and Northern Premier League every month.
Shaw Lane`s goals on Monday came from Spencer Harris in the 2nd minute from the penalty spot and then top scorer Gavin Allott 8 minutes from time.
Witton`s players weren`t told of their fate until after they had beaten town neighbours and already-doomed Northwich Victoria.
A crowd of 427 at Wincham Park saw goals from Will Jones with two, Steven Tames, a Bradley Bauress spot-kick and Rob Hopley in a 5-0 romp.
Stocksbridge Park Steels sealed their top five spot alongside Spalding United after winning 2-1 at Chasetown, thanks to a Harrison Biggins brace inside the opening 6 minutes – Jack Langston replying from the spot.
Spalding ended Lincoln United`s hopes of a top five finish with a 2-0 Ashby Avenue victory, courtesy of goals in the final 4 minutes from Bradley Wells and Conor Higginson from the spot.
Basford United could not find that all elusive goal that would have propelled them into the play-off places going into the last week of the season.
It wasn’t to be though as neither Basford or Carlton Town failed to find a goal between them in the Nottinghamshire derby at Stoke Lane.
The outcome is now clear. Basford can get into the play-offs by bettering AFC Rushden & Diamonds` result on Saturday at home to Newcastle Town.
Newcastle will be in exactly the same position as Basford sitting on the same points, albeit with an inferior goal difference, so it will be a tense affair.
Diamonds currently occupy the final slot but had to make do with a share of the spoils at the Zeeco Stadium against Stamford AFC in front of 632.
Top scorer Nabil Shariff`s goal right on half-time for Diamonds was eventually cancelled out by Jordan Smith 8 minutes from time.
Meanwhile, Tom Unwin`s 36th minute goal sealed Castle`s home win over Leek Town.
At the bottom, Loughborough Dynamo and Rugby Town will have to endure a nervy final day with just a point separating them following Monday`s results that saw Dynamo win 1-0 at Gresley FC with a Karl Demidh goal in stoppage time, while Valley were held to a 1-1 draw at the Oval by neighbours Bedworth United, whose Jack Jeys` 63rd minute goal cancelled out Chris Sterling`s 50th minute opener.
Elsewhere, Ruben Wiggins-Thomas` 22nd minute goal proved enough for Belper Town at Sheffield FC, and Jud Ellis bagged a brace to help Market Drayton Town to a 3-1 home success against Romulus.