Town boss Neil Aspin felt his side had done enough to reach the Blue Square bet North play off final after dominating for long spells against Gainsborough yesterday.
But, having battled back from the brink of elimination to draw the first leg 2-2, they were undone by Shane Clarke’s 63rd minute goal at the Shay, in a game that saw kick off delayed by 10 minutes due to the number of people who wanted to get into the ground.
Town were left to rue the ones that got away in the 1-0 defeat, especially efforts from Tom Baker and James Dean that hit the woodwork, as their hopes of a third successive promotion under Aspin were ended.
“Sometimes it is not meant to be,” said the Shay chief.
“All season I felt it was going to happen for us, but yesterday we did everything to win the game apart from score - and how we haven’t I don’t know.
“I cannot fault the effort of the players in terms of possession, chances, efforts at goal - and we hit the woodwork twice.
“That sometimes happens and we just have to take it.
“It wasn’t as if we went out with a whimper - there were lots of scrambles in the box but nothing fell for us.
“If we had been beaten by a team that outplayed us I would have held my hands up and said we were not good enough.
“Yesterday we were good enough, we just didn’t get the luck and I thought the best team lost.
“It is difficult to take at the moment because we deserved to get through.”
Given their defensive frailties at times this season, it was almost inevitable that a goal from a corner should end the Shaymen’s campaign a week earlier than most had expected.
And that followed on from the two early goals they conceded at Gainsborough in the first leg from almost identical free kicks.
“We have been done by three set pieces over the two games and that really is the story of our season,” said Aspin.
“We just haven’t been able to defend set pieces - we have to defend them better and that is something I have to address for next season whether we had won yesterday or not.
“It has certainly been our Achilles heel.”
There was misery for Town’s West Yorkshire neighbours Guiseley as well as they went down 1-0 after extra time to Nuneaton Town in their semi-final at Nethermoor which means Gainsborough will host the Midlanders in the final next weekend for a place in Blue Square Premier.
Town and Guiseley will be joined in Blue Square bet North next season by Bradford Park Avenue who defeated FC United of Manchester 1-0 after extra time to win the Evo Stik Premier Division play off final at the Horsfall Stadium.