The lights look to have gone out on Scarborough Athletic’s play-off charge after a 2-2 draw at Prescot Cables on Saturday.
Boro looked a tired and mentally drained version of themselves on Merseyside, as struggling Cables had the fight to bag a draw.
Paul Foot and Bryan Hughes’ team finally sparked into life in the final 10 minutes of a stretched encounter, and though they managed to restore parity, it was too late for a bigger finale.
The pressure that possibly became too much for Boro over the last few weeks has now been lifted, just in time for the big Easter Monday encounter with the division’s big boys Darlington.
Now just pride is at stake for Boro after a tepid run of form, which has seen them pick up just one win since late February.
Things could have been so different for Boro after a bright start in the Liverpool sunshine.
With just a handful of minutes on the clock, Ryan Blott was played in on keeper Ben Morrow.
Morrow won the first battle as he saved well with his feet, but Blott looked set to score when the rebound broke nicely. Frustratingly his shot struck the outside of the post and bounce clear.
Boro were punished soon after when a error by Steve Ridley allowed Prescot the space and time to break.
Jack Phillips coolly took advantage when he volleyed home a cross at the far post.
Boro continued to look uneasy on the left, an area that Prescot continued to exploit.
And the hosts should have found themselves two up when Joe Cracknell failed to gather a cross on the edge of his box, fortunately James Jenkins drilled over when the ball fell at his feet.
Boro continued to show nothing as the half came to an end, and they were lucky to remain in touch as Prescot created a few good chances.
The best effort came from winger Neil Prince, whose delicate free-kick floated against the bar and bounced away.
Jimmy Beadle came on for Kieran McCaffrey at the break, a move that kicked off a little more attacking intuition from Boro.
Alex Metcalfe was the first to gather one of the more incisive balls, but he sliced wide of the target.
The changes continued for Boro with Gary Bradshaw arriving into a game that was becoming littered with silly fouls and yellow cards.
One of the better challenges came from Boro defender Dean Lisles, who nipped the ball off the toe of Phillips, just as the striker was poised to pull the trigger.
The minutes of Boro’s season continued to tick away, piling on the tension that soon told on the visitors.
It was another error that proved costly with just 11 minutes of action remaining.
Cracknell dallied on a back-pass and gave it straight to Phillips, who lifted the ball delightfully into the net.
This became the kick-start that Boro required, as they immediately trimmed the lead. Bradshaw burst in on goal and saw his shot saved, but Blott wasn’t going to be denied and he rolled home from 10 yards.
Play swung to and fro from here on in, with both defences evaporating.
Blott put the ball in the net, but his effort was ruled out by the flag of a linesman.
Then James Gardener was played in on Boro’s goal with support to boot, but he clearly panicked and Cracknell saved well.
Beadle’s flick was then cleared off the line, before Lisles rose superbly to head home the resulting corner from the right, making it 2-2.
Boro tried to press for that all-important winning goal, but Prescot seemed happy to run down the clock, a tactic that eventually worked.
The reactions at full-time were a stark contrast, Prescot celebrated as though they had secured promotion, while Boro trudged dejectedly away from the pitch, and the play-offs.