SALISBURY manager Brian Dutton said his side's penalty shootout win on Monday felt like "destiny".

The Whites secured promotion to the National League South with a win on penalties over AFC Totton. The game finished 1-1 in regular time, and 2-2 after extra time. 

Brian Dutton told the Journal: "I am very proud, that's the overriding feeling. Really proud of this group of players and what they have achieved this season, which is nothing short of amazing."

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Salisbury finished 15th in the league in the last two seasons, and finished third this campaign, and winning the play-offs.  

Brian added: "Where they have come from to now in such a short space of time to now. I felt like it was destiny today, and it proved to be, the way the game unfolded. 

"Just like the last time a club in the Southern Premier with Salisbury at the front - goes to penalties, we finished on the same amount of points as that team, and finished third, ended up playing Hednesford away and the same thing unfolded there that has happened today. Sometimes things in football are just written in the stars, and it felt like that today". 


Salisbury Journal: Manager Brian Dutton celebrates with fans and his staff

Dutton told the Journal after the semi-final win against Gosport on Wednesday night that the game would "go with him to his grave". 

He said on Monday: "I didn't think that could be topped, but this might just do it."

Salisbury took a big group of away fans with them, about whom Dutton said: "This is what we are in it for. These fans deserve this. They have had a bit of a slog now for a while, but they have got their club back."

Club chairman Ian Hammond said: "The players were amazing. The whole season has been an amazing experience and they have never given up. They have really bonded as a group and its a fantastic squad. 

"It was a really hard game, a really tough game, and it could have gone either way, but I think we were mostly on top. There was a stage in the first half when they really had a go at us but overall I think we deserved it."


Mr Hammond also paid tribute to the club's volunteers, without whom he said the club wouldn't exist, and the management duo of Brian Dutton and Callum Hart. 

"Brian and Callum have really changed the way in which the team has played. Better tactics, much fitter then they were. And a winning team brings the fans! 

"It has been great to be a part of it, and its quite emotional. Although I have been sitting down, my knees are a bit wobbly!"

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A visibly-sounding assistant manager Callum Hart said after the final whistle: "It's hard to express what I am feeling right now. Unbelievably proud of everyone associated with the football club. 

"The fans were absolutely incredible today and I can't speak highly enough of those players. They just kept going, like on Wednesday night [against Gosport], this side is never beaten." 

He added: "Credit to Totton, they threw the kitchen sink at us, and then it goes to penalties, which is a horrible way to lose a game of football, but someone has to lose, and I am thankful its not us."

On promotion to the National League, he said: "What happened to this club was devastating, and to get back to the National League South is where we should be, and we will give it a good go."