Everyone at Alfreton Town FC breathed a collective sigh of relief at the final whistle after drawing 1-1 with already relegated Altrincham on Saturday.
And although the draw in itself wasn’t enough to guarantee National League North safety the failure of both Gainsborough Trinity and Worcester City to win certainly was.
Furthermore the awful run of defeats, amidst an ever increasing injury list, ground to a halt and the Reds can now look forward to another season at step two of the Pyramid, which will be their tenth at that level punctuated only by that memorable four-year adventure in the Conference National.
The game itself should have been wrapped up by Alfreton, who had taken a 39th minute lead through Andy Monkhouse after a concerted spell of pressure, typified by amassing five corners in the opening 13 minutes.
The Reds certainly meant business, the first chance of the game falling to Adam Priestley in the eighth minute, his shot from a Wes Atkinson pass turned behind by the legs of home keeper Tim Deasy.
Jordan Richards went close before Altrincham’s first corner on 30 minutes led to former Alfreton midfielder Jake Moult’s effort being saved by Fabian Spiess.
Another ex-Red Damian Reeves shot tamely at Spiess before heading over from a left wing cross, but Alfreton cranked up the pressure once again with Niall Heaton heading wide at the back post from Craig Westcarr’s 35th minute free-kick.
Four minutes later Altrincham failed twice to clear a Westcarr corner, allowing Callum McFadzean to return the ball to Westcarr with his subsequent cross headed home firmly by Monkhouse six yards out at the near post.
The second half began with a hopeful, dipping shot from distance by Chris Lynch evading the crossbar, then Kyle Brownhill headed wide from a Nicky Clee cross and Spiess saved at Reeves’ feet as the hosts made notable inroads into contention.
However they were gifted a 56th minute equaliser when sub Shaun Densmore sent an innocuous curling cross towards goal from 25 yards that Spiess fumbled and allowed to squirm through his legs, once again cancelling out all the good work that he had done in much the same way that he had at Tamworth five days earlier.
With the wind back in their sails Altrincham threatened to score again, but Clee wasted a great run with an overhit cross, Laurence Taylor’s header was held by Spiess and Micah Evans blazed over when a goal looked inevitable.
Priestley persevered with Alfreton’s cause, his angled drive held from a Richards throw, McFadzean was thwarted by Deacy from 20 yards and Heaton’s header was dealt with before Brownhill’s shot in response was held by Spiess.