On Bank Holiday Monday, the 2017-18 season finale was a clash of two London clubs; who incidentally are the most two in-form sides of the Bostik Premier Division; Dulwich Hamlet vs Hendon.
With only one automatic promotion to the National League South, Billericay Town were crowned champions with 99 points, after a seasons-long two horse race between themselves and Dulwich Hamlet, who finished the campaign with four points fewer.
Third-placed Hendon, and fourth-placed Folkestone Invicta finished the campaign with equal points, however, the Dons superior goal difference awarded them home advantage in the playoff semi-final, which paid dividends, as they were four goals to the good before the interval. In front of a crowd of 722, four different players signed their names on the scoresheet – Josh Walker, Ashley Nathaniel-George, Zak Joseph and Niko Muir.
Hendon finished the 2016-17 campaign in 18th position, just 2 points clear of the drop zone. Therefore, securing 31 points more, and ranking 15 positions higher is a phenomenal achievement.
Dulwich Hamlet have reached the playoffs for the last 4 years. In 2014-15 they crashed out the semi-finals with a 2-1 defeat to Margate; and in 2015-16 they lost 2-1 to East Thurrock United.
Last years playoff semi-final saw Dulwich Hamlet reach the final with a 4-2 win over Enfield Town at Champion Hill. The Hamlet however fell short at the final, and Bognor Regis Town secured promotion with a 2-1 win at Nyewood Lane.
On Thursday night, an unstoppable free-kick from Ashley Carew secured the Hamlet their place in their 3rd playoff final in 4 years, after 71 minutes of play between themselves and Leiston. The narrow victory also gives them the home advantage; for the first time in that period.
Here are the full highlights of the 2017/18 Bostik Premier Division playoff final: