Leamington boss Paul Holleran admitted the play-off final was not one for the purists but said he does not care, writes Paul Okey.
Hitchin’s spoiling tactics meant Leamington were, according to Holleran, “so far of it”, especially in the first half.
However, Rob Thompson-Brown’s penalty and a stunning strike from Courtney Baker-Richardson meant it was home fans who were celebrating after 120 minutes.
“I had a text message from Craig Shakespeare on the morning of the game and he said the only thing that is important is the result,” said Holleran.
“We got it, that’s the main thing and all that matters.”
Holleran maintains his side over-achieved just by qualifying for the play-offs but said they are determined to defy the odds again next year when they take their place, as expected, in the Conference North.
“We’ll go and have a go, like we always do and we’ve learned lessons from last time.
“To be honest, we were punching above our weight in the Southern League Premier to reach the play-off final two years running.
“Hayes & Yeading spend more on football than we do and they got relegated.
“It will be a test of character and we’ll need to keep unearthing rough diamonds.
“Look at Courtney Baker-Richardson. Eighteen months ago everyone said don’t sign him. He’d had something like six clubs in 18 months.
“But we’ve knocked him into shape and he’s a better person off the pitch and a better player for it. You only have to see what he did for us on Monday and what he’s done for us over the season.
“And we’ve got to keep doing that.”