Carshalton Athletic can reflect on the past season proudly despite suffering defeat in the play-offs last week, writes James Barrett-Sterling.
The Robins' first season back in the Bostik Premier League after five years away ended with the club finishing in second place, plus they reached the last 16 of the FA Trophy and took National Conference club Barnet to a replay.
Carshalton welcomed fifth-placed Merstham for a play-off semi-final last Thursday but the Moatsiders completed a hat-trick of victories over their hosts this season by winning 2-1 via a late strike by Kershaney Samuels.
But player/manager Peter Adeniyi, whom scored his side's goal in that game, believes once the dust has settled everyone associated with the club should be able to walk tall.
"Firstly, I want to thank everyone within the club including the chairman, my management and coaching team, everyone behind the scenes and the players for all their efforts," said Adeniyi after the game.
"It's been a fantastic season in which everyone on the pitch gave everything. I'm extremely proud of what they've achieved.
"And the fans' support both home and away has been amazing, even when we went through some bad spells. We didn't want to disappoint them tonight but we'll re-group over the summer and look ahead to next season."
There was a rainbow over Colston Avenue before kick-off but it was Merstham that struck gold after just two minutes - top scorer Walter Figueira capitalised on a poor back pass to drill home his 19th of the season.
But Carshalton were only behind for 15 minutes as Adeniyi met Bobby Price's low centre before guiding it first-time across goal and inside the far post.
"It was always going to be a tight affair and neither team really dominated. We created the better chances after equalising but, after half-time, perhaps people didn't want to make mistakes," Adeniyi lamented.
"The game came down to just a few moments and, unfortunately for us, Merstham got two goals to our one."
The decisive moment came when Samuels tried his luck from 20 yards and the ball went in via the glove of keeper Billy Bishop whom saw it late through a crowd of players.
And then the dismissal of striker Omar Koroma for a second yellow card compounded Carshalton's misery on the night.
"That was another moment that went against us. Maybe if we'd had 11 on the pitch right until the end things might've been different but I wish Merstham all the best in the final," added Adeniyi.
"I know the boys are disappointed, and they should be as it's part and parcel of the game, but no-one would've expected us to finish second in the league. We know what we are capable of and I want them to feel proud and be ready to push on after our break."
Carshalton Athletic have already announced 'early bird' season ticket prices for the 2019/20 season - tickets are just £130 for adults, £90 for seniors (over 65) and £30 for juniors until 17th May. There are also special 'pay as you go' tickets but there only 200 available. More details: https://www.carshaltonathletic.co.uk/news/season-tickets-2019-20