ECCLESHILL United suffered promotion heartbreak over the weekend, losing on penalties to Kempston Rovers after a 2-2 draw.

After defeat in that Step 4/5 play-off, it means Eccleshill will be staying in the Northern Counties East League Premier Division next season, rather than moving up to the Northern Premier League East Division, which Liversedge won this term.

It was a long trip down to Bedfordshire for the Eagles, but they started brightly, with Sumaili Cissa forcing a fine early save from Kempston stopper Joe Ringer.

Eccleshill goalkeeper Ed Wilczynski had to make saves from Trey Charles and Sam Johnson soon after, but he was powerless to prevent Kempston from taking the lead on 37 minutes.

The Eagles were penalised for a handball in the box following a free kick from the home side, and though Charlie Hayford saw his initial spot-kick saved by Wilczynski, he tucked in the rebound to give the Step 4 side the lead.

Eccleshill roared out of the box after the break and after Cissa had flashed two shots just wide, they equalised after 50 minutes.

Defender Sam Bradley was the unlikely scorer, curling an effort home from the edge of the area.

And the tireless Cissa put them in from six minutes later, with his strike from just outside the box going in via the post.

Eccleshill were threatening to make it three, with Zachary Sangster forcing a near-post save out of Ringer and Talent Ndlovu clipping the crossbar with a free-kick.

And the Eagles were made to pay when Ben Baker's shot from the right side of the area found its way in via the post.

Charles fired wide right at the death, before Eccleshill dominated the first period of extra-time, with Bradley's header from a corner clawed over the bar by Ringer and Ndlovu's shot tipped round the post by the stopper.

Kempston were on top in the second half of extra-time, with Charles and Emmanuel Dahie both forcing saves from Wilczynski.

That ensured the game went to penalties, and Kempston avoided relegation, denying Eccleshill promotion in the process, by winning the shootout 5-4.

Kempston blinked first, as they cracked their third penalty off the crossbar.

But Ringer went on to save Eccleshill's fourth penalty, with the shootout going to sudden death.

And Ringer made another save from Eccleshill's sixth penalty, sparking wild celebrations from the home side.

*Our thanks at the T&A to Charlie Bradford of the Non-League chronicles, who attended the game and whose own match report helped provide the basis of this one.