Three goals in the last 7 minutes of the regular season on Saturday, in games twenty-five miles apart, saw Carlton Town finish second in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League First Division South.
The Millers started the afternoon third in the table knowing that in order to finish runners-up, and guarantee home advantage throughout the play-offs, they needed to beat Goole AFC and for champions Grantham Town to beat Ilkeston FC and for there to be a four-goal turnaround in Carlton's favour.
That looked unlikely at half-time with the score at Stoke Lane 0-0. But the Millers were given hope early in the second half when Anthony Griffith Junior converted a 52nd minute penalty after Reuben Wiggins-Thomas was fouled.
And with just 4 minutes remaining substitute Tristram Whitman converted from close range after rounding the goalkeeper to score Carlton's 100th league goal of the campaign.
That wasn't the end of the drama, however, as fellow substitute Sam MacVicar made it 3-0 on 89 minutes after taking advantage of a slip to round the keeper himself and tap into an open goal.
And news then filtered through to Stoke Lane that Grantham had scored a 93rd minute winner against Ilkeston to confirm Carlton's finish as runners-up on goals scored from the Robins.
Sam Duncum had equalised Jamie McGhee`s 7th minute opener for the Gingerbreads 6 minutes later, but the Robins` were beaten by a last-gasp Tony Battersby effort.
The Millers will meet Leek Town in the play-off semi-final at Stoke Lane on Wednesday night after the Blues pipped Belper Town to the final play-off spot also on goals scored.
That came after Leek beat already-relegated Shepshed Dynamo 5-0 with Tim Grice helping himself to a hat-trick and Dan Cope a brace.
Meanwhile, the Nailers were held 1-1 by New Mills at Christchurch Meadow where Ashley Longstaff gave the hosts a 55th minute lead that Carlos Meakin cancelled out 0n 68 minutes..
In the other semi-final on Monday, Ilkeston will host Sheffield FC, who completed their campaign with a 4-1 win over Romulus in Dronfield.
Andy Gascoigne bagged a brace for Club, with Connor Higginson and Jason Bradley also on target – Charisma Agbonlahor for Roms.
The bottom two were sorted a while back, but at least second-bottom Quorn went out in style, winning 3-0 at Coles Lane against Sutton Coldfield Town, thanks to a Kris Nurse double and one from Tyeisse Nightingale.
Elsewhere, Stamford ended on a winning note, beating Rainworth Miners Welfare 2-1 at the Vic Couzens Stadium with goals from Bruno Holden and Joe Pheasant after Ant Lynam had given the Wrens a 19th minute lead.
Newcastle Town won 3-0 at the Lyme Valley Stadium against Lincoln United, with Leon Ashman bagging two, and Loughborough Dynamo won 3-0 at Watnall Road against Hucknall Town with goals from Dom Brennan, Danny Gibbons and Dan Henton.
Brigg Town also won 3-0 at the Hawthorns against Market Drayton Town with Ollie Fisher, Liam Davis and Danny Buttle on the mark, while the game between Kidsgrove Athletic and Coalville Town ended 2-2 – Grove coming back from two-down to goals from David Blenkinsopp and Anthony Carney to level through a Tom Kellock own goal and Karl Charlton.
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