Yeovil Town bowed out of the Sky Bet Championship following a 2-0 defeat at Brighton and Hove Albion but boss Gary Johnson was proud of their efforts this season.
The Glovers had arrived on the south coast already resigned to their fate, needing to win their remaining two games, hope everyone else around them lost theirs, and engineer a 13-goal swing.
But the Somerset side, who have been punching above their weight for 10 years since they reached The Football League, were determined not to go away quietly.
And a battling display nearly ruined Brighton's chances of exiting the Championship in the opposite direction until late goals from Kazenga LuaLua and Jesse Lingard lifted the hosts back into the play-off places.
"It's sad, although we knew we were going to be sad, so it's not a shock," said Johnson.
"But I was pleased with the boys' efforts and it was fantastic that the Brighton fans applauded our lads when we walked off.
"A couple of decisions went against us here, and a couple of moments of quality from Brighton. But I'm proud of the lads knowing we have given everything."
Johnson has a year remaining on his contract but wants assurances about the direction of the club before he considers taking on another promotion bid.
"I've got a board meeting on Monday and we'll see where we are going," he added.
"Are we going to progress or are we going to have to keep pulling a rabbit out of the hat each time?
"We can't keep doing that. We can't be little old Yeovil forever. It's a nice thing to be called but the whole town, the whole club, the whole area has to support it.
"Brighton have a Premier League stadium and we play in a Conference stadium. We have to be doing a lot more to compete with teams like Brighton."
Yeovil almost stunned the hosts after a quarter of an hour when Ruben Palazuelos crashed a superb effort from 25 yards against the crossbar.
Meanwhile Brighton missed a host of chances with Andrea Orlandi and Leonardo Ulloa the main offenders.
But they got a stroke of luck after 79 minutes when substitute LuaLua curled in a cross from the left which flew straight in, and Lingard wrapped up the win from 15 yards in stoppage time.
Brighton are now two points above Reading, who play Doncaster on Saturday, in the final play-off spot.
"It's a very important win for us," admitted Seagulls boss Oscar Garcia.
"We knew we had to be patient but in a game like that it is not easy to be patient. But we did our job, and now we have to wait and prepare for the last game.
"Two months ago no-one thought we would be there - but we are."