Lancaster City have made it through to the first round proper of the FA Trophy for the first time in 12 years after a last-gasp winner from Tom Kilifin.
Phil Brown’s side were made to wait until the 90th minute to net the winner in an encounter where they were far from their best, spurning a host of chances in the first half and enduring a scrappy second period with a number of scares from the visitors.
Suffolk-based Mildenhall Town, plying their trade a step below the Dolly Blues, were visibly up for the game and provided a tough test on a very saturated playing surface that proved to be a leveller.
In the early stages, whilst the pitch was still in a reasonable state, Lancaster had the chances to take the lead and nearly did so on 18 minutes.
Ryan Winder’s driven corner was met by the head of Steve Williams but his effort came crashing off the bar before being cleared to safety.
Scott Harries then had a chance to open his City account as Hannu Tam played him in behind the defence a minute later but his shot was wild and lashed high and wide.
Craig Carney was then unlucky to miss the target after rounding the ‘keeper at a tight angle as the Dolly Blues lacked their clinical edge.
Ricky Mercer was the next to spawn a good chance as his headed effort rose high over the bar just before half-time and Lancaster were nearly made to pay in the second period.
The visitors enjoyed their best spells of the game after the break as both sides resorted to a more route-one style of football on the deteriorating playing surface.
Hall striker Steve Holden was the first to test Josh Powell in the City goal, forcing an acrobatic save with his volley from the edge of the area.
Strike partner Daniel Brown then went close as he cut inside from left channel but with the goal to aim at the forward could only find the side netting.
The let-off allowed City press forward and they went close when Tam broke behind the defence and squared the ball for Harries.
The winger was however hesitant to pull the trigger and allowed ‘keeper Sam Roach to pounce at his feet and smother the ball.
If there was going to be a goal in this match it always felt like the hosts would nick it and it was right at the death that the £5,000 goal hit the back of the net.
A long ball forward saw Williams’ flicked header find Kilifin in acres of space behind the Hall back-line and the forward kept his cool to lift the ball over Roach past his near post, sparking wild celebrations and sealing a long-awaited place in the FA Trophy first round.
Lancaster City: Powell 7, Fensome 8, Mercer 8, Williams 9, Dugdale 8, Winder 6, Wills 6, Akrigg 6 (Kilifin 61), Harries 5 (S Bailey 74), Carney 6, Tam 6 (Meulensteen 90). Subs not used: Hudson, C Bailey
Star Man: Steve Williams