It was party time at Colston Avenue at the weekend as Carshalton Athletic secured promotion to the Bostik Premier with three games to spare.
The Robins, who have only lost one league game since the start of November, required three more points from their last four games to guarantee automatic promotion ahead of Whyteleafe’s visit on Saturday.
And the visitors did their best to be pantomime villains as they raced into a 3-1 lead with only 25 minutes to go, but Carshalton’s resilience saw them turn it around with an added time winner making it 4-3.
That victory also keeps the Robins on track for the league title as it now becomes a straight shoot-out between them and Lewes for top spot.
“Our objective before the start of the season was to aim for promotion, be it automatically or through the play-offs, so I’m of course happy we’ve achieved that,” said player/manager Peter Adeniyi.
“The players have done themselves and the club proud. I can’t speak highly enough of each individual and the boys showed incredible strength of character to comeback against Whyteleafe, something they’ve demonstrated time and again this season.
“We’ll enjoy this moment but we are also still fighting for the title, so we’ll make sure we are focussed for our remaining games.”
Carshalton trailed at half-time to a John Scarborough header, but Tommy Bradford eased the tension with an equaliser on 49 minutes.
The home side were on the front foot but Leafe broke to score twice in two minutes via another for Scarborough and Nkori-Venceslas.
Carshalton hadn’t stared down the barrel of such a scoreline in months, but their heads didn’t drop as they yet again demonstrated an ability to ‘never say die’.
Ola Sogbanmu plundered two headers on inch-perfect deliveries within the space of a minute to get the home fans singing again.
And, for the third time in fourth matches, Carshalton took victory in added time as Bradford broke free to slam a left-footed drive past Sheikh Ceesay and send Colston Avenue into raptures.
Carshalton have matches against Ramsgate (a), Sittingbourne (a) and VCD Athletic (h) left to play and, quite simply, if they win all three then they’ll be crowned Bostik South champions.