HAVANT & Waterlooville’s Conference South promotion dream was cruelly shattered five minutes from the end of the season yesterday.
The Hawks only needed two points from their final two games to join Sutton, Bromley and Ebbsfleet in the play-offs for the chance to play Conference Premier football alongside Eastleigh in 2014/15.
But Lee Bradbury’s men lost at home to Maidenhead last Wednesday – two days after beating champions Eastleigh – before only drawing 0-0 at relegated Tonbridge at the weekend.
That would still have been good enough for fifth place as Dover were being held 1-1 at lowly Hayes & Yeading with five minutes left.
But the Kent club were awarded a penalty which Barry Cogan converted to clinch fifth place by virtue of a better goal difference.
It is the second season running that Dover will be in the play-offs, having beaten Eastleigh in the semis last term prior to losing the final at Salisbury.
Dover face a two legged semi against Paul Doswell’s Sutton United, with the first leg taking place at The Crabble this Wednesday.
Former Eastleigh midfielder Dale Binns scored twice as Sutton finished their regular league season with a 3-3 draw at Whitehawk.
Binns had only scored twice in his previous 38 league and cup games this term.
Another ex-Eastleigh midfielder, Darryl McMahon, also scored twice as Ebbsfleet caned relegated Dorchester 4-0.
Ebbsfleet will now face Bromley in the other play off semi final.