Kevin Nolan has acknowledged that Notts County 'got what they deserved' as they fell to a 2-1 loss at Grimsby Town on Saturday.
Nathan Clarke fired the Mariners in front only for Dan Jones to stab home late on to seemingly salvage a point.
As has been the case one too many times this season, however, Notts bottled it when it counted the most, Jamille Matt scoring a stoppage-time winner to firmly shut the door on County's automatic promotion ambitions.
Magpies boss Nolan was frustrated at how the afternoon unfolded which has left Notts settling for the lottery of the playoffs, and could have no complaints with the result.
“We huffed and puffed all day but never really put them under enough pressure,” he told the Nottingham Post.
“We didn’t use our game plan effectively and we got what we deserved.
“I didn’t think we deserved a win and even a draw may have been kind to us.
“But fair play to Grimsby they had to win to stay up and that’s fantastic for them.
“I am just disappointed it has ended the way it has. I’ve been proud of the players all season long.
“It would have been lovely to be going into the final day with a chance of getting promoted but we’ve had a fantastic 17 months.
“I am so proud of my lads and we intend to enjoy ourselves in these next three games.”