“THINGS didn’t go our way and sometimes, it’s just not meant to be.”

Mark Beesley was in a philosophical and reflective mood when discussing how his Warrington Town side fell agonisingly short of promotion again.

“Obviously, I’m really, really gutted but I’m proud of the club and the players,” he said.

“They’ve given everything since I took over and have been excellent.

“They’ve been written off, had ups and downs but we were so, so close to achieving our goal.”

On the day, they were second-favourites to beat a Scarborough Athletic side who had lost just once since New Year’s Day and were unbeaten on their home turf since November.

The game eventually went to form, but that barely begins to tell the story.

A match played in front of a partisan home crowd at the Flamingo Land Stadium was bookended by two guilt-edged Yellows chances – Jordan Buckley missing the target when clean through in the early stages and Josh Amis heading against the bar in injury time as Town desperately sought an equaliser.

In between, there were three goals – Bailey Gooda eventually scored a late winner after Josh Amis had cancelled out the opening goal from home skipper Michael Coulson – and a raft of decisions from referee Jamie O’Connor which left all associated with Warrington feeling a deep sense of injustice.

Chief among them was the decision to send Mitch Duggan from the field – seconds after Jordan Buckley had a goal correctly ruled out for offside – for a challenge in which he clearly won the ball but his follow-through took him forcefully into Boro defender Ashley Jackson.

There was also an element of controversy about Gooda’s decisive strike, with Town players fervently protesting that the defender had handled the ball before firing beyond Dan Atherton.

“Looking at the game as a whole, I think we’ve had the two best chances,” Beesley said.

“If Jordan scores after two minutes, I think it could have been our day and if Josh scores in injury time to make it 2-2, we’re obviously right in the game for extra time.

“The refereeing performance was nothing short of a disgrace.

"There was talk of him maybe being demoted from the league above. If that's true, how has he been given the biggest game in the league below?

“For Mitch’s red, I think it was probably a foul because of his follow-through but he couldn’t wait to get the red card out.

“He’s played the ball and then followed through into the man and in modern day football, it’s probably a foul and possibly a booking but for me, it’s a very harsh red card and it changed the game.

“After the first few minutes when they’ve come at us without really hurting us, we gave a really poor goal away from our point of view.

“Once we rode out the storm, we got a bit braver.

“We got the ball down, scored an excellent goal and from that point until the red card, I thought we were the better team.

“Jordan’s probably about a foot offside when he scores – you need those little things to go your way in one-off games and they didn’t.

“I haven’t seen their winner back but the lads came in after the game saying it was handball. You could tell by their reaction.”

By virtue of finishing three points and two places better off in the final Northern Premier League Premier Division table, Scarborough enjoyed home advantage for the play-off final.

A sell-out crowd of just over 2,800 fans packed into the Flamingo Land Stadium – the highest crowd in the division this season – with Yellows allocated 600 tickets for their supporters.

From now on, however, Beesley believes the rules should be changed so that finals are held at neutral venues, as they are higher up the league pyramid.

“I’ll say what I’ve said all week – it’s not a final, it’s an away game,” he said.

“The league need to change the rules. It was an away game where we had 15 per cent of the gate – how is that right for a final?

“If you watch all the finals that will be coming up in the next few weeks, it will be half and half.

“We knew that from the start so it’s not an excuse, but the referee was overawed by their supporters.

“It was clear for everyone to see – he couldn’t wait to book or send our players off but he would let theirs off.

“With all that, the chances we missed and giving a goal away when we had a man injured and couldn’t quite get the sub on, it just wasn’t our day.”

There were unsavoury scenes at full-time, with Scarborough fans flooding onto the pitch to celebrate their victory and promotion to the National League North.

However, a section of home supporters headed for the away section to goad visiting fans as they left the ground and although mass violence was averted, there were reports of damage caused to one of the coaches that had ferried Town’s followers to North Yorkshire.

“I must mention the fans – I want to apologise for not going over to thank them at the end,” Beesley said.

“It was for the safety of the players with the situation on the pitch. My primary concern was that none of our players or supporters got hurt

“We were trying to make sure the Scarborough fans goading our supporters didn’t turn into something really nasty, which it could have done.

“To take 600 supporters up to Scarborough on a Bank Holiday Monday was special. They were fantastic and I’m just sorry we couldn’t do it for them.”