AFC Stoneham, playing just their fourth season at this level, were going into the game in second place. A point behind Amesbury Town, who had already completed their fixtures, but with a superior goal difference. So, they just needed to take a point for the title.
Totton & Eling sat bottom of the table but could leapfrog Andover Town with a win. They had beaten Whitchurch United 2-0 in their last game and had only suffered one defeat in their last five games, drawing three. Defensively, their record was by no means the worst in the league but with 45, they were the division's second lowest scorers.
Stoneham meanwhile, along with Amesbury, had managed the entire season without a home defeat. They were the division's top scorers, with 121 and could also boast the meanest defence with just 39 goals against.
The reverse fixture in Eastleigh finished 6-1 to AFC Stoneham and featured a first-half hat-trick from The Purple's Sergio Caballero.
Totton & Eling moved to Millers Park for the 2009/10 season. The ground is directly behind AFC Totton's Testwood Stadium in a set-up that reminded me very much of Wellingborough Town and Whitworth. The ground still has a new feel to it. Accessed through a single turnstile which brings you into the ground around about the halfway line. There is a main stand just to your right as you enter. Beyond this is the snack bar, directors lounge and toilet block. To the left of the entrance there is another building that houses the players and officials facilities. There is also a covered standing area behind the goal at The Testwood Lakes end of the ground, to your right as you enter. Dugouts are directly opposite the main stand. All in all, a very tidy, well-kept ground. Great to see the team sheets written out on a large whiteboard just as you enter the ground. Invaluable information for visitors.
With so much riding on the game nerves were to be expected, especially in the initial stages of the game. However, this did not appear to be the case. Stoneham immediately set about trying to get themselves a goal and Totton settled back into a tight formation which suggested that they were determined not to concede early on.
The majority of the game was being played in the home half of the pitch but Nathan Jones was not being tested.
With 5 minutes remaining until the end of the half, the away side's pressure finally told. Zach Glasspool received the ball on the corner of the six-yard box, with his back to goal. Hos sharp turn wrong-footed the defenders, allowing him the space to rifle a shot past Jones into the far corner. 0-1
I'll be honest. When the goal went in, I really thought that it was game over. Totton & Eling had showed no real sign of being able to score themselves and Stoneham, who remember only needed a point, would have been quite within their rights to have sat back and protected their lead. Little did I know what was to come in the second-half.
HT Totton & Eling 0 AFC Stoneham 1. The home side could not be faulted for effort but needed to show something extra in the final third if they were to get back into the game.
Within a minute of the restart Totton had a golden opportunity to get back on level terms. They engineered a move up their left flank that led to the ball being cut back into the penalty area, around 12 yards out. Rory Wood was perfectly positioned but could not beat Fredericks. It was a miss that the striker would be made to regret even more within two minutes when, down the other end, first-half substitute Josh Clark latched onto a through ball and beat Jones with a low drive to the keepers left. 0-2
This really did seem to be the end of the game as a competition. In fact, I saw a few people leave the ground at this point. Maybe Amesbury fans hoping for a home win? As it turned out, they missed all of the drama.
Ten minutes later, on 68 minutes, Totton got a goal back out of nowhere. Again it was a corner that caused the problems and, after a little bit of a scramble, Rory Wood made up for his earlier miss by nudging the ball over the line. 1-3.
Even so, few people would have put any money on a Totton comeback. However, with 1 minutes remaining they did manage to get another goal back. This time a low drive from Harry Burns just evaded Fredericks' fingertips and crept into the corner of the net. 2-3 and you could see some nerves creeping into the away side
On 84 minutes, those nerves were jangling even more when the home team were awarded a penalty. Up stepped captain Sam Vidler, making no mistake to level the game up. 3-3. They couldn't, could they?
Credit to Stoneham at this point. Backed by a large away following, they managed to steady the ship and see the game out, despite a titanic effort from a tiring Totton & Eling team. What a fantastic end to the game and a superb advert for Step 6 football.
FT Totton & Eling 3 AFC Stoneham 3. Heartbreak in the end for The Millers. A valiant effort, especially in the finally 20 minutes where they really made Stoneham sweat.
Big congratulations to AFC Stoneham. Champions of the Wessex League Division One.
Commiserations to Amesbury Town who, it has to be remembered, also went unbeaten at home all season and eventually only lost the title on goal difference.
Note to self: Get to more Wessex League games next season
Totton & Eling: Jones, Higdon, Kana'ah, Gain, Pattison, Stacey, Vidler (c), Burns, Wood, Matthews, Selby. Subs: Callaway, Steel, Stuttard, Metcalf, Head
AFC Stoneham: Fredericks, Stupple, Harris, Manning (c), Palmer, Clarke, Laptas, Welch, Glasspool, Sutherden, Caballero. Subs: Bainbridge, Caton, Wright, Hills, Clark
Ground Number: 196
Entrance: £ 6.00