The curtain came down on a miserable campaign for AFC Portchester with their final day defeat at Tadley.
Hopes were high at the start of the season that the Royals would be able to secure promotion and start their climb up the non league pyramid system.
In the end this result left them in 13th place in the final league table for the season, 55 points behind eventual Wessex Premier Division champions Sholing.
So instead of planning for the Southern League, Portchester will spend the summer months putting together a plan which they will hope brings them Wessex League success in 2019-20.
There was certainly an end of season feel to Saturday’s trip to Tadley both on and off the pitch, as the game was played in blisteringly hot conditions.
The visiting goal was under pressure from as early as the fourth minute when Jake Nicholls tried his luck from 25 yards out and young keeper Max Alderson got down low to scoop the shot around the post.
From the corner, Shaun Dallimore had a free header on goal but he couldn’t put his attempt on target.
On 11 minutes Mike Turvey almost unlocked the home defence when he picked up the ball on the right hand side of the penalty area, jinked past two defenders but his shot lacked any power and was easily saved by keeper Sean O’Brien.
Turvey again threatened to break through the home defence on the half hour mark when he got as far as the edge of the box. He rolled the ball to Brodie Spencer but his shot on target was beaten away by O’Brien.
Two goals in four minutes then put Tadley well and truly in the driving seat. On 31 minutes, Portchester lost possession in midfield and some quick passing sent Alex Fragata clear down the left.
He cut inside the penalty area before riffling his shot past Alderson and into the top corner of the net.
Four minutes later a free kick was played down the right to Daniel Vickers. He pulled the ball back to the edge of the penalty area and Fragata was there to fire the ball into the corner of the net.
Vickers almost set up a third goal for his side when he latched on to a through pass by George Hallahan. He pulled the ball back to the edge of the area into Nicholls’ path but he skewed his effort wide.
At the other end Efu Kazadi got his shot horribly wrong for Portchester before Turvey had another chance but he shot straight at O’Brien.
Steve Ramsey then had a shot from the edge of the box charged down and the ball fell to Turvey but he couldn’t quite get hold of the rebound and his shot trickled straight through to the keeper.
The home side almost got their third goal six minutes into the second half when Fragata’s cross found Hallahan but his header hit the crossbar.
Portchester then had two free kicks from good positions on either corner of the box - Spencer hit his from the right straight at O’Brien and Ramsey did exactly the same from the left hand side.
On 64 minutes a clearance down the left was picked up by Fragata before the home defence initially snuffed out the danger. However, Hallahan stole possession of the ball, took it past Alderson but his shot across goal went wide of the far post.
Alderson was called into action again to pat down Nicholls’ shot from the edge of the box and he then denied Hallahan after he cut in from the right and substitute Conner Thorne blazed the rebound well over the crossbar.
Turvey managed to pull a goal back for Portchester on 73 minutes when a long throw in by substitute Adam Cripps on the left was flicked on inside the six yard box and the visiting striker was on hand to prod the ball home.
However, that joy for the visitors was short lived as the home side got their third goal three minutes later. Substitute Luke Neller’s inswinging free kick from the right beat Alderson at his near post.
Hallahan had another chance to score but blazed his shot well over and at the other end Ramsey broke through down the left, cut inside the box but his shot across the keeper went wide of the far post.
In the final minute Ramsey’s free kick from the left picked out Josh Warren but he flicked the ball wide of the target.